Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi proposed a bill in the parliament for the decriminalisation and regulation of marijuana and opium. The bill has been passed by the legislative branch of the parliament and would be tabled during the winter session as a private member’s bill.
Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, an ousted AAP member due to the difference of ideologies, hopes to bring changes in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985.
What led to the NDPS Act?
Until 1985 marijuana and opium were something that was sold legally and the consumption of the said drugs were not looked down upon.
In 1893, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom was concerned with the increasing rise in the use of marijuana in Bengal. By 1894, a 3281-page report called the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report was furnished.
The report concluded that occasional use of marijuana may have a beneficial effect but most certainly will have no evil effects physically, mentally or morally if consumed in a controlled manner.
The problem arose when in 1961 United States began to campaign for a worldwide law against all drugs. India opposed the move for almost 25 years and finally in 1984 Rajeev Gandhi government succumbed to the American pressure and passed the NDPS Act.
Provisions of the NDPS Act
The law makes possession or use of drugs punishable offence. Time of imprisonment varies with the quantity of drug found. It gets the drug under regulation and prohibits trafficking. It also allows the government to regulate, control and produce certain drugs too.
What Dharamvira Gandhi says
The Hindustan Times reports, Dr Gandhi saying that the regulation of drugs for the last 30 years did not show substantial results as it should have. It only increased the number of drug cartels, who are not even scared of the harshest punishments. The supply remains same, just behind hushed doors.
He wished that if the substances can be used for the recreational purpose by the common man, then ill-use of the same won’t occur. The criminalisation of drugs caused a rise of drug cartels, mafias and many human rights violations. He gave an example of Durette’s ‘War on Drugs’ and further proves his point right.
He also noticed that use of synthetic drugs like heroin and cocaine increased after the ban on non-synthetic drugs like ganja, opium etc.
In reply to the bill, a consumer says, “If ganja comes under the regulation of the government then the prices might increase. Yes, it is illegal now, but still, it is cheaper.”
If in the winter session the bill is passed that would mean marijuana, opium would be regulated by the government. It will become legal in India for recreational usage.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.