It’s being alleged that Rhea Chakraborty is part of an international drug mafia, and has close links with Dawood Ibrahim. We know all this because, according to her now public chat history, she allegedly enquired about MDMA and marijuana. If you go by that logic, probably half of India has Dawood Ibrahim’s number on speed dial.
Of course, nothing in India is high crime, if it doesn’t involve Dawood Ibrahim. ABP News anchor said: “You saw drugs, you saw Dubai, now it is Dawood.” Yes, they were going for the three Ds of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Apparently, the late actor had gotten hold of Dawood Ibrahim’s secrets.
And his partner Rhea was the drug kingpin of Rajput’s life.
Media: the fourth probe agency
While Rhea Chakraborty has been accused of practicing black magic, being a control freak and painted as the real-life Komolika, the character assassination of the Bollywood actor over the alleged use of drugs was led by Times Now’s Navika Kumar, based on some messages whose context, she thought, needn’t be provided.
Select portions from Chakraborty’s private chats, some dating back to 2017—when she wasn’t even in a relationship with Sushant Singh Rajput—were used to prove that she was ‘administering’ drugs to the late actor and boyfriend, in a well laid out plan to ultimately murder him.
Rajput, if you believe the news channels, was a genius, extremely intelligent astronomer engineer but also a naive, dumb eight-year-old boy, who was completely bewitched by Chakraborty, and did as she said without hesitation.
The misogyny directed at Chakraborty, especially by female anchors, is a new low even for India. I wonder if Navika Kumar would enter the newsroom with a jhola full of WhatsApp chats if Chakraborty’s allegations that Rajput was a regular marijuana user are proven tomorrow. This is Bollywood, you will hear tales of party drugs everywhere. Just get on with the programme. This is a no-brainer. But to read a giant mastermind in the WhatsApp chats of an emerging actor like Rhea is just plain ignorance. Who do we blame? Sources who hand out such trumped-up and wild conjectures masquerading as truth? Or journalists who just lap it all up unquestioningly and arrive at the studio with bagfull of so-called secret documents?
Marijuana consumption is common
But first, our TV channels don’t know much about celebrity lives, youth or drugs.
Times Now’s knowledge of today’s youth can be deciphered from their brilliant understanding of millennial lingo. They think ‘Imma bounce’ (I’ll leave now) has something to do with a bounced cheque.
So, if someone told them that marijuana consumption has been a part of our culture since vedic times, and that Delhi and Mumbai are among the top 10 cities with the highest consumption of cannabis, indicating its prevalence, or if they go through Vice India’s website, they might die of culture shock.
Cinema, they say, is the mirror of society. Filmmakers these days show their protagonists enjoying the occasional joint, pointing to its increasingly common use in India. Movies and shows such as Made in Heaven, Gully Boy, Go Goa Gone (a stoner comedy), Raman Raghav and Gangs of Wasseypur have shown characters from different demographics, consuming weed as casually as drinking whiskey. And yes, who can forget Zeenat Amaan erasing all her problems in Dum Maaro Dum?
There’s also a chat made public by the media, between Rhea Chakraborty and Talent Manager Jaya Shah, which hints at a conspiracy to mix CBD oil in someone’s chai (Rajput’s name doesn’t overtly appear). But how do we know she didn’t have Rajput’s consent before having this conversation, or when they finally took CBD oil? Also, why is CBD being portrayed as the most lethal drug on the planet? It isn’t even psychotropic. It is used for many purposes such as treating anxiety and depression. CBD does not get you high. It’s the THC content in marijuana that’s responsible for it. Here’s a link to buy this fully legal ‘lethal’ drug, in case you have been having troubles sleeping lately or have been feeling anxious. That of course comes with the rider that you have your doctor’s prescription.
CBD is also used as an alternative therapy to get anxiety and depression under control, which is what Rajput was seeking as revealed by Chakraborty. But inflammatory conspiracy theories are better for news business compared to a nuanced discussion on the late actor’s mental health or other important issues of gripping the country. So, anchors will obviously rubbish even the slightest possibility of Rajput being mentally ill.
If Rhea did possess, use or buy narcotics such as MDMA, she must be investigated and tried. If the Narcotics Control Bureau is able to get leads of names involved in a drug nexus and busts it, even better. But saying that Chakraborty was part of a syndicate for allegedly using drugs is preposterous.
Vilification of drug users
Traditionally, use of drugs and drinks brings the ‘loose character’ tag. All spoilt brats in Saavdhan India and Gumrah are into drugs and eventually commit murders. Even in films and shows you’ll find that the villain is usually an alcohol-consuming, meat-eating ‘devil’ while the ‘hero’ is a saatvik brahmin-baniya.
Drug users are treated like criminals by our media and under the law. However, addicts, too, are like other people but with an illness. If someone consumes drugs, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad natured. In fact, some people are more inclined to drug abuse and addiction due to a function of past trauma and genetics, among other things. Elton John is a popular example of a recovered drug addict who found solace in always being high because he had a disturbed childhood.
Addiction is also a physical illness and doesn’t mean lack of conviction at all. Drugs supply your body with the happy hormone, dopamine. Once the brain starts functioning on higher dopamine levels, it views it as a necessity and gets addicted to it. Giving up drugs like Meth, Cocaine, opium, heroin usually requires external help because the withdrawal symptoms are violent. In the early days of lockdown, many alcoholics died by suicide because they couldn’t deal with withdrawals. You don’t usually overcome addiction with sheer ‘willpower’ alone.
While addicts require society’s support to get over their illness, society isolates them, further pushing them down the addiction path by stigmatising their problem.
The United Nations and World Health Organization have also called upon countries to consider decriminalisation of certain drugs. Countries such as Portugal have seen death rates due to overdose decline after decriminalisation. Experts have called upon successive governments to stop treating drug users like criminals, and help in their rehabilitation.
But our TV channels, at least, are just busy looking for Dawood anywhere and everywhere, and refuse to start a sensible debate. I don’t know what Bhubaneswar Gold is, but would really like to know what’s keeping our news channels high. Probably banning them from telecasting such content would help society recover from their ‘breaking news’ overdose.
Views are personal.