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|Indian Hemp Drug Commission Report|
The Indian Hemp Drug Commission Report
THE POLICY OF HEMP DRUG ADMINISTRATION
General principles regarding sumptuary laws and their application to India.
553. The question of prohibiting the growth of the hemp plant and the sale of ganja and allied drugs is one which stands in the to forefront Of the present inquiry. It has been remarked by a well known historian that "no laws are of any service which are above the working level of public morality, and the deeper they are carried down into life, the larger become the opportunities of evasion. If these words are true as applied to England under a feudal system, they are much more true in the present day as applied to British India. The Government of this country has not grown out of the forces contained within it, but has been superimposed upon them, and the paternal system of government which may have been suitable in England during the sixteenth century, and in, the initial development of some Indian provinces during the period immediately following their annexation, becomes purely visionary when public opinion is in process of formation and the needs of the people are year by year finding more ready expression. Occasionally, no doubt, the Legislature in India has anticipated a standard of morality not universally accepted by the people, as in the case of laws relating to infanticide or the burning of Hindu widows; but these measures were passed under an overwhelming sense of the necessity of correcting popular notions of morality in matters coming well within the sphere of Government, and in the assurance that in the course of time they could not fail to secure the assent of all intelligent members of the community. In the chapter of Mill's Political Economy which treats of the non-interference principle, a distinction is made between two kinds of intervention by the Government-- the one authoritative interference, and the other giving advice or promulgating information. And the following remarks are made regarding the former:
"It is evident, even at first sight, that the authoritative form of Government intervention has a much more limited sphere of legitimate action than the other. It requires a much stronger necessity to justify it in any case, while there are large departments of human life from which it must be unreservedly and imperiously excluded. Whatever theory we adopt respecting the foundation of the social union, and under whatever political institutions we live, there is a circle around every individual human being which no Government, be it that of one, or of few, or of the many, ought to be permitted to overstep there is a part of the life of every person who has come to years of discretion within which the individuality of that person ought to reign uncontrolled either by any other individual or by the public collectively. That there is, or ought to be, some space in human existence thus entrenched around no one who professes the smallest regard to human freedom or dignity will call in question: the point to be determined is where the limit should be placed; how large a province of human life this reserved territory should include. I apprehend that it ought to include all that part which concerns only the life, whether inward or outward of the individual, and does not affect. the interests of Others, or affect. them only through the moral influence of example. With respect to the domain of the inward consciousness, the thoughts and feelings, and as much of external conduct as is personal only, involving no consequences, none at least of a painful or injurious kind, to other people, I hold that it is allowable in all, and in the more thoughtful and cultivated often a duty, to assert and promulgate with all the force they are capable of their opinion of what is good or bad, admirable or contemptible, but not to compel others to conform to that opinion, whether the force used is that of extra legal coercion, or exerts itself by means of the law. Even in those portions of conduct which do affect the interests of others, the onus of making out a case always lies on the defenders of legal prohibitions. It is not merely a constructive or presumptive injury to others which will justify the interference of law with individual freedom. To be prevented from what one is inclined to, or from acting contrary to one's own judgment of what is desirable, is not only always irksome, but always tends, pro tanto, to starve the development of some portion of the bodily or mental faculties, either sensitive or active; and, unless the conscience of the individual goes freely with the legal restraint, it partakes, either in a great or in a small degree, of the degradation of slavery. Scarcely any degree of utility short of absolute necessity will justify a prohibitory regulation, unless it can also be made to recommend itself to the general conscience; unless persons of ordinary good intentions either believe already, or can be induced to believe, that the thing prohibited is a thing which they ought not to wish to do."
These remarks have been given at length, because the Commission believe that they contain a clear exposition of the principles which should guide them in deciding whether the prohibition of the hemp drugs should be authoritatively enforced by Government.
The question of entirely suppressing all intoxicants.
554- Now, a certain number of .persons (among whom may in all probability,- be reckoned the mover of the question in the, House of Commons which led to the appointment of the-Indian Hemp Drugs Commission) deem it to be the duty of the British Government to suppress the trade in all intoxicants in all the countries under its sway; and there are no doubt special circumstances in India which render it less, impossible than in some other countries to consider even so drastic a policy. These are notably the general sobriety of its races and the feeling, popular as well as religious, which prevails against their use among a large section of the community. Even then no appeal in support of such a measure can be made to the public morality or practice of civilised nations at large, nor, so far as the Commission are aware, to any marked success attending the experiment in particular instances. In the exceptional cases in which the experiment has been attended with partial success (as in some of the American States), the reformation of the habit has become an object of desire to the majority of the people, and the enactment for promoting Such reformation has presented itself less as a restrictive force than as an auxiliary agency
Not laid before the commission
555. But the Commission are not called upon to pronounce on so wide an issue. It was not upon the basis of this general principle that the Secretary of State for India accepted the proposal made in the House of Commons, nor do the instructions issued to the Commission by the Government of India cover so wide a field. The question of prohibiting the production and sale of the hemp drugs in India has to be considered by the Commission apart from the general question, and such prohibition must be justified, if at all, on some more special ground than the mere fact that they are intoxicants.
The past history of the case how far to be relied upon.
556. Again, there are a certain number of persons whose' evidence before the Commission points to the assumption that the case for prohibition of the hemp drugs has already been established in the records of the Government, and that further enquiry implies a willful blindness to what has been abundantly proved by such records. A reference to Chapter XII of this Report will show how untrustworthy these records are in regard to the production of insanity by the use of the drugs-- an aspect of the question which is of the utmost importance, and has formed the basis of nearly all the official opinion heretofore recorded. against such use. And, after availing themselves fully of every opportunity of consulting the official literature on the subject, the Commission have arrived at the conclusion that it shows little originality, and that a very limited amount of personal observation has been made to do duty as the basis of large conclusions. The want of reliable data has been compensated by annual reiteration until the stamp of antiquity has secured for the opinions so expressed a large amount of acquiescence among officials who had neither the time nor the opportunity to examine the matter for themselves So far, therefore, as the effects of the hemp drugs are concerned, the Commission have had to approach the subject as almost a tabula rasa, and, while availing themselves of the imperfect data previously collected, have endeavoured to avoid accepting any conclusions without a substantial foundation of well ascertained facts. The attitude, however, of the Government in regard to the question may be briefly described. So far back as 1798 an inquiry was made in Bengal regarding the quality of ten intoxicating articles-- "opium, madak ganja, subzi, bhang, majum, banker, charas, tobacco, and toddy--" with a view to determining whether it might not be advisable to prohibit altogether the sale of any of them. The conclusion arrived at, which was stated in a letter of the Board to the Governor-General in Council, No. 22, dated 29th May 1798, was to the following effect. "It appears that the original productions are as follows: Tobacco, opium, ganja, subzi or bhang, banker, and toddy, and that the three remaining articles are for the most part compositions of those here recited, as above mentioned. With respect to the drugs specified m the foregoing schedule, they are not for the most part represented as producing any very violent or dangerous effects of intoxication except when taken to excess; and, although the operation of them-may be more powerful in their compound state, we apprehend it would be difficult to sanction the sale of the original productions, and to prohibit with effect the use of compositions of which they are susceptible; to which may be added that most of these articles, both as original productions and as artificial combinations appear to be useful either in medicine or otherwise; for these reasons we do not deem it necessary to recommend that the sale of any of them be altogether prohibited, but shall proceed to state what appear to us the. best means of restraining the use of them, and improving the revenue by the imposition of such taxes as are best adapted to the nature of the case." A complete inquiry was made in 1871 from all provinces as to the effects of several preparations of hemp; and if the result should call for any action in the direction of restricting them by enhancement of the duty or of limiting, or even prohibiting, the cultivation of the. plant, the advice of the Local Governments was invited as to the expediency and practicability of such measures. The result is contained in the Resolution of the Government of. India, Finance Department, No. 3773, dated 17th December 1873. The following passage shows the conclusion arrived at:
"Upon a consideration of all the opinions thus collected, it does not appear to the Governor-General in Council to be specially proved that hemp incites to crime more than other drugs or than spirits. And there is some evidence to show that on rare occasions this drug, usually so noxious, may be usefully taken. There can, however, be no doubt that its habitual use does produce insanity. The total number of cases of insanity is small in proportion to the population, and not large even in proportion to the number of ganja smokers; but of the cases of insanity produced by the excessive use of drugs or spirits, by far the largest number must be attributed to the abuse of hemp. Lower Bengal the circumstances have admitted of a system under which the consumption of ganja has been reduced one-half, while the amount of duty levied on it has been doubled. It would be very desirable to control the cultivation and preparation of ganja and bhang elsewhere-in the same way. But it is believed that this would not be easy; indeed, it would probably be impracticable. Moreover, with the exception of the Chief Commissioners of British Burma and the Central Provinces, the Local Governments are not in favour of altering existing arrangements. His Excellency in Council, however, trusts that the various Local Governments and Administrations will endeavour, wherever it may be possible, to discourage the consumption of ganja and bhang by placing restrictions on their cultivation, preparation and retail, and imposing on their use as high a rate of duty as can be levied without inducing illicit practices. As regards British Burma, the Chief Commissioner has already been informed that the Governor-General in Council concurs with him in thinking that the cultivation and consumption of ganja should be absolutely prohibited, and it has been prohibited from the beginning of the year 1873-74. "
In 1877 the Bengal Government appointed a special officer, Babu Hem Chunder Kerr, to make a full inquiry into the details of the cultivation of ganja, the sufficiency or otherwise of the present safeguards, and the reforms which it might be advisable to introduce. Sir Ashley Eden's conclusions on this officer's report in regard to the effects of ganja and policy to be followed were as follows: "The Lieutenant-Governor has himself no doubt that the use of ganja in any form is injurious to the consumer, and that it is the duty of Government to make the tax on this article as high as it can possibly bear. Unfortunately it is habitually used by large numbers of the lower classes of the population, who would, if deprived of it altogether, apparently find in the leaves of the wild hemp plant and in other drugs narcotics and stimulants of equally deleterious character. It does not seem possible, therefore, to stop the cultivation altogether. The policy of Government must be to limit its production and sale by a high rate of duty without placing the drug entirely beyond the reach of those who will insist upon having it." The last important utterance on the subject previous to the appointment of the Commission is contained in the letter of the Government of India, Finance Department, to Her Majesty's Secretary of State, No. 212, dated 9th August 1892, in which the following remarks occur: "We are inclined to believe that ganja is the most noxious of all intoxicants now commonly used in India. But even if the absolute prohibition of the use of the drug could be enforced, the result might be to induce the use of still more noxious drugs. India abounds with plants growing wild from which drugs can be procured which are more deleterious in their effects than ganja. One such plant is the dhatura (Stramonium), the seeds of which are already used to intensify the narcotic effects of bhang, a liquid preparation of hemp leaves; and we apprehend that if the use of ganja were suppressed altogether, dhatura might be largely resorted to by the poorer classes as a means of satisfying their craving for stimulants. Apart, however, from the objections just mentioned, we believe. that it would be impossible to enforce in India a prohibition of the use of ganja. That drug is produced in Native States, and the difficulties in the way of preventing its import from them, if the supply in British India were cut off, would be immense. It would not, moreover, be possible to suppress the supply in British India. The hemp plant grows readily in India, in many places wild without cultivation of any kind, and it would be easy for any one addicted to the use of ganja to grow a plant or two in the enclosure of his own house and in nooks and corners which would be safe from observation and from the risk of detection. The question in the House of Commons suggests that as the possession and sale of ganja has been prohibited for many years in Burma, it is desirable that the same prohibition should be extended to other provinces of British India. The analogy of Burma does not, however, apply to India. When the prohibition was enforced in Burma, the drug was very little used by the Native Burmese, its consumption being almost entirely confined to coolies and other immigrants from India; and the cultivation of the plant in Burma, which had never been extensive, had virtually ceased, the consumers being dependent on importations for their supplies. In India, on the other hand, the practice of ganja smoking has existed from time immemorial, and among certain sects of Hindus, ascetics, and religious mendicants hemp intoxication is habitually indulged in; and, as explained in the preceding paragraph, it would be impossible to suppress the growth of the plant. But, although we consider it impracticable to enforce the absolute prohibition of the use of ganja, we fully recognise it as our duty to restrict its consumption as far as practicable, and we have distinctly laid down the policy to be pursued in respect of this drug in our Resolution of the 17th December 1873 already quoted. The annual reports of Excise Administration show that the subject has since been continually before Local Governments, who are making every possible endeavour to minimise the evils and discourage the use of the drug wherever it is a source of danger to consumers." Thus "restraining the use and improving, the revenue by the imposition of suitable taxation," "discouraging the consumption by placing restrictions on the cultivation, preparation, and retail, and imposing on their use as high a rate of duty as can be levied without inducing illicit practices," "limiting the production and sale by a high rate of duty without placing the drug entirely beyond the reach of those who will insist upon having it," "restricting consumption as far as practicable, minimising the evils, and discouraging the use of the drug wherever it is a source of danger to consumers" have from time to time been the watch-words of the Government in the matter of the hemp drugs, a policy only once definitely abandoned, viz., in the case of Burma, where total prohibition was introduced in 1873.
Prohibition in other countries.
557. Allusion must be made to precedents for the prohibition of the hemp drugs in other countries in order to complete these general observations. Excepting British Burma (reference to which will be made further on), the Commission only know of four cases of prohibition, viz., in Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Trinidad. For the first three of these, the only information at the disposal of the Commission is contained in the communications from Her Majesty's representatives addressed to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1892 in consequence of a requisition made on them by the Earl of Rosebery at the request of Mr. W S Caine, M.P.
558. The ground of the prohibition in Turkey is thus stated in a note addressed by the Grand Vizir to the Ministry Commerce, Constantinople, on 1st March 1292 (sic):"From the reports furnished by the Imperial Medical Council, it appeared that the use of hashish in the preparation of medicines was extremely rare, and that, being a narcotic, its use must of necessity be injurious, and that consequently the suppression of the cultivation of hashish could not fail to prove highly advantageous." The effect of the prohibition is thus described in an enclosure to the Ambassador's reply: "The importation and sale in Turkey of hashish, though contraband, is still, I hear, largely carried on, and is used for smoking, in the composition of various sweetmeats, and as an opiate in general."
559. In Egypt the cultivation, use, and importation of hashish were first forbidden in 1868, but in 1874 it was allowed to be imported on payment of duty. In November 1877 an order was received from Constantinople that all hashish brought into Egypt was to be seized and destroyed, and finally, in March 1879, the importation and cultivation of hashish were prohibited by a Khedivial decree. In March 1884 it was provided that confiscated hashish should be sold by the Customs (for delivery abroad) instead of being destroyed as formerly, and the proceeds of the sale divided amongst the informers and officers who took part in the seizure. "This measure was rendered necessary," says Mr. Caillard, the Director-General of the Customs, "by the absence of any fund from which rewards could be distributed; while, on the other hand, the profits of smuggling being very great, large sums were paid by the smugglers to insure the silence or complicity of the Customs officers, coastguards-men, and others. A considerable number of persons are employed in the smuggling trade, many of them having subsistence. Great ingenuity is displayed by the smugglers no other means of and no sooner has one trick been discovered than another isin this illicit trade, of the contrainvented. The great obstacle, however, to the complete repression band trade is the refusal of some of the European Governments to recognize the right of the Egyptian Government to search suspected shops or warehouses, and to punish the delinquents by fine as well as confiscation. In view of the impossibility of suppressing the contraband trade in hashish under the suggested to the Minister of Finance circumstances described above, desirability of removing the prohibition against the importation of the and I proposed to collect a customs duty of P. T. 100 per kilogramme (9s. 3d.per lb.), besides it license-tax on the sale of hashish. It has been abundantly proved that the vice of hashish smoking cannot be suppressed by legislation, whereas by a system of licenses it may be kept under control to some extent. "Mr. Caillard estimates that the quantity of hashish consumed annually in Egypt cannot be less than 50,000 okes (about lbs. 140,000) notwithstanding the prohibition. He states that the hashish appears to be manufactured chiefly in Greece.
560. In Greece there is no law regulating or specially alluding to the product as merchandise is allowed, but a Police order of 1891 prohibits its sale and consumption in the small cafes of Athens and the Piroeus, in some of which, during the previous ten or fifteen years apparently, the habit of using this drug had been gradually introduced. The order was based upon a report of the Sanitary Board at Athens, in which prominent mention is made of the observations made in India by English doctors, and the statistics of insanity in Bengal lunatic asylums ascribed to the use of the hemp drugs are put forward as justifying, repressive measures. The effect of the order passed is not mentioned, sufficient time not having elapsed.
561. As regards Trinidad, the Commission are not sure that the hemp drugs are prohibited. The fact has been stated by the Indian Immigrants Commission, Natal, 1885-87, and by Dr. Thomas Ireland, Government Medical Officer, British Guiana, in a paper published in the Alienist and Neurologist, St. Louis, in October 1893. But, on the other hand, Surgeon-Major Comins, lately on special duty in British and Foreign Colonies and the Netherlands, in his Note on Emigration from India to Trinidad, 1893, quotes a statement of the Protector of Immigrants, who says that in the year 1885 an Ordinance was passed requiring the payment of L100 per acre to obtain a license to grow ganja, which had previously been grown in large quantities. This practically put a stop to the growth and consumption for several years, but immigrants who had left Trinidad two years previous to the writing of his report had been growing it in Venezuela, and several seizures had been made by the Customs officers from persons endeavouring to introduce it into Trinidad. The Protector adds: "With a coast line such as ours, adjacent to that of the Spanish Main, it will be impossible to prevent its introduction into this colony if immigrants who go there continue to grow it." Dr. Comins himself says: "I do not know what are the laws in force here regarding the sale of opium and ganja."
Basis of prohibition and results in these countries.
562. Thus in the case of other countries, where the use of the drugs has been prohibited, the Commission do not find in the literature available to them many arguments for prohibition. In Turkey it rests upon the theory accepted by orthodox Muhammadans that hashish "being a narcotic its use must of necessity be injurious," while in Egypt the prohibition emanated from Turkey. In both these countries the measure has by no means been attended with complete success. In Greece the prohibition in the cafes of Athens is based largely upon Indian experience, which the Commission have had cause in great measure to recast. In Trinidad, if there has been prohibition, it does not seem of late to have been effectual. It must be added that the Commission have no scientific information regarding the strength of the article of commerce called hashish, and it may differ to some extent from the Indian products. From the description of its manufacture even by the Mayor of Orchomenus in Mantines in Arcadia, whence the Egyptian supply is mainly derived, it appears to resemble more the charas of Yarkand than the ganja or bhang of India.
Is prohibition in India justifiable, feasible, and advisable?
563. Starting, therefore, from the position that what is known of the hemp drugs in the past is not sufficient to justify their prohibition in India, and that for such a measure there must be strong justification based on ascertained facts scientifically and systematically examined, the first question for the Commission to decide is whether such justification is to be found in the evidence before them, and the second-whether, if this is so, prohibition is feasible and advisable on other grounds. These will now be considered.
Prohibition of bhang
564. The effects of the hemp drugs have been treated in Chapters X to XIII of the Report; and as the first result of these conclusions, the Commission are prepared to state that the suppression of the use of bhang would be totally unjustifiable. It is established to their satisfaction that this use is very ancient, and that it has some religious tion among a large body of Hindus; that it enters into their social customs; that it is almost without exception harmless in moderation, and perhaps in some cases beneficial; that the abuse of it is not so harmful as the abuse of alcohol; that its suppression, involving the extirpation of the wild hemp plant, would in some tracts be a matter of great difficulty; that such a measure would be extremely unpopular, and would give rise to widespread discontent; and, finally, that, if successfully accomplished, it would lead to the use of more hurtful stimulants. The Commission deem it unnecessary to traverse the evidence further than has been done in the preceding chapters of this report in support of these propositions. It is almost unanimous in regard to them. The utmost that is necessary in regard to this product is that it should be brought under more effective control, and this matter will be dealt with further on. But absolute prohibition is, in the opinion of the Commission, entirely out of the question.
Prohibition of ganja and charas
565. Though it has been shown that as a rule ganja and charas are used in moderation, and that the moderate use ordinarily. does not cause appreciable injury, yet it has been established that the excessive use of these forms of hemp drugs has been more injurious than in the case of bhang. Whether they should be prohibited or merely controlled is a question which might be settled merely with reference to their ascertained effects. The Commission consider that the effects are not such as to call for prohibition, and on the general principles discussed in the opening paragraphs of this chapter, such interference would be unjustifiable. Nevertheless, it. seems advisable to refer to the other evidence with a view to ascertaining the generally prevailing views on the subject, and considering the grounds on which prohibition is advocated or opposed.
The evidence regarding prohibition of ganja and charas may be considered together.
566. In reviewing the evidence on these points, it will not be necessary to draw a distinction between ganja and charas. The effects of these two drugs have been shown to be similar, though charas is cateris paribus the more potent. They are both ordinarily smoked, though very occasionally used for eating and drinking usually in the form of admixtures with other condiments stated by Mr. Lyall (Bengal 1): "Ganja and charas are really one, and in time, if the question be scientifically followed up, possibly charas will be the only form used." The refuse of ganja is used in some provinces as bhang, but this substance more nearly resembles bhang than ganja properly so called. The ganja of the different provinces varies in quality. But these distinctions cannot here be specially observed; it will be sufficient to bear in mind that the opinions in Bengal, the Central Provinces, Madras, Bombay, and the smaller Administrations relate to ganja; that those in the Punjab relate to charas; and that those in the North-Western Provinces and Sind relate to ganja and charass, both of which consumed.
Supply of ganja and charas in its relation to prohibition.
567. A few remarks, however, recapitulating the local conditions of ganja and charas will not be out of place. Charas is practically a foreign article. Small amounts are imported from Nepal and Gwalior, but they may be left out of the account. The bulk comes from Yarkand through the Himalayan passes, or to a much smaller. degree from offer parts of Central Asia through the routes on the frontier of Afghanistan. It would not be a very difficult matter to stop these imports, though the co-operation of the Kashmir Darbar would be necessary in regard to Yarkand charas. It may, therefore, be accepted that the supply of charas might be cut off without much difficulty, though, as this article forms the principal import from Yarkand, the prohibition of charas would paralyse, if not extinguish, the trade with this country. In regard to ganja, the problem is more complex. Ganja is regularly cultivated in Bengal, the Central Provinces, Madras, Bombay, and Berar. In Bengal and the Central Provinces, the cultivation of the hemp, plant for its production is under complete control. In Berer cultivation is only permitted under license. In the other tracts of British territory it is not directly Controlled. Assuming that control is possible in these tracts, it does not follow that it would be equally possible to prevent cultivation altogether. Moreover, there still remains a considerable amount of production in many of the Native States all over India. To induce these States to prohibit cultivation would be a difficult matter, and, even if this were done, the suppression of illicit cultivation would offer the most serious difficulties. For, though ganja of good quality requires some cultivation and tending, the evidence before the Commission tends to establish the fact that ganja of an inferior kind can be manufactured from the spontaneous or casual growth which is found near human habitations and amidst cultivation of other crops in many parts of India. While, therefore, it cannot be asserted that the task of preventing the manufacture of ganja is an impossible one, it would certainly at the present time be attended with considerable difficulty.
Opinions of the witnesses regarding prohibition of ganja and charas.
568. The question addressed to the. witnesses regarding the prohibition of the hemp drugs (No. 35) was so framed as to elicit in the first place opinions as to the feasibility of such. a measure. The considerations bearing upon the subject were also set forth in the form of subsidiary questions. The question whether the witnesses advocated prohibition. was not specifically put, but it is not difficult, comparing the answers to the questions above mentioned with those relating to other questions, to decide what the opinion of each witness is on this question. Those who hold decided views have no doubt generally stated them in some portion of their answers, and at all events ample opportunity of doing so was afforded them. A larger number of the witnesses have contented themselves with merely giving an affirmative or negative answer to the questions on .the subject. It is impossible to attach much importance to such answers. The Commission have abstracted them and considered them, but they feel bound to give far more weight to the opinions of witnesses whose replies show that they have formulated an opinion, on the desirability of prohibition. Some account will now be given of these answers.
Opinions regarding prohibition of ganja and charas.
569. Out of the total of 1,193 witnesses, 575 have expressed a decided opinion on the question of prohibition. Of these only 99 advocate it in their answers. The remainder are against it. The classification of these witnesses is shown in the following table:
Superior Superior Subordinate
Assam ......... 4 1 ..
North-Western Provinces 10 79
Total - x6 138 4 3 106 4 2o
Per cent .... 3 97 x7 83 1o 90 36 64 83
Thus, not only is there a very large preponderance of opinion against prohibition, but the preponderance is specially marked among superior Civil officers. The only witnesses indeed of the latter class who favour prohibition are three in the Punjab, where charas and not ganja is consumed.
The most important of these opinions on either side will now be specified. The most forcible opinions in favour of prohibition will be quoted at some length in order that the argument for this view may be .thoroughly appreciated. The opinions against prohibition are too numerous to be quoted, but the witnesses will be named under headings setting forth the most prominent views expressed.
Bengal opinions in favour of prohibition of ganja
570. The Bengal witnesses in favour of prohibition of ganja consist of a Sub-Deputy Collector, an Assistant Surgeon. two Medical Practitioners, an Honorary Magistrate, two zamindars, two pleaders, a delegate from the Indian Relief Society, Calcutta, the Secretary to the Band of Hope, Faridpur, the Secretary to the Bogra Medical Society, and two Missionaries. The Commission cannot find much to quote from these opinions, but the following are the most forcible:
(238) Delegate, Indian Relief Society, Calcutta, Babu Amrita Krishna Mullick, B.A., B.L.: After quoting official and medical opinions relating to the injuriousness of ganja, the Society, endeavours to show that the cultivators of the hemp plant lose largely by their occupation, and maintains that it is the duty of the Government to come to their rescue by abolishing it. The society maintains that the privation to the consumers would not be serious, and that it is difficult to suggest any drug more deleterious than ganja to which they could take. The Society contends that the alleged religious sanction to the use of the drugs is a fallacy, and refers to the opinions of several pandits in support of this view. The Society argues that to meet the deficit in the revenue, which would be about lakhs per annum, the salaries of European officers should be cut down, the duties on cotton goods re-imposed and the income-tax increased with an enhanced taxable minimum. Savings would be effected by reduction of establishment and by decreased cost of lunatic asylums.
(286) Secretary, Band of Hope Temperance Society, Faridpur, Babu Purna Chandra Maitra: "This Society begs to urge upon the Commission to consider the justice and propriety of a just, benign, and Christian Government to allow cultivation and sale of a drug which has been excluded from some countries, and in England doubly protected in the poison list." The witness argues that the drug" has been unreservedly condemned by eminent doctors as one of the most dangerous poisons known, as the most potent cause of lunacy, and as the most pernicious and deleterious of all excitants ever in use in any country." He admits that there are a number of yogis, sanyasis, fakirs, and mendicants addicted to ganja smoking, but states that ganja smoking forms no part of their religion, and there is not a single Hindu or Muhammadan religious book which sanctions the use of ganja. "No real disaffection can under the benign rule of the British Government be seriously apprehended, and, even in the event of there being such apprehension, the fact should not be lost sight of that the Government in this case will have the support of the bulk of the population." He alleges that ganja produces crime, and that the taxation, amounting to 22 lakhs, is a drain on the poverty-stricken and half-famished people of Bengal. He finds it difficult to suggest a substitute for ganja, but liquor may be one, and a peculiar preparation of strong tobacco may also serve the purpose.
(134) Secretary to Bogra Medical Society (10 members), Pyari SankerDass Gupta, L.M.S.: "the prohibition will give rise to no political danger. For the ganja smokers have very little influence over society. The Government has faced questions of a greater religious character, as the Suttee or the Age of Consent Act, with boldness. This is comparatively a minor question affecting only depraved men."
(203) Rev. W. B. Phillips, Missionary.: "What with liquor and opium and hemp drugs of various kinds, all licensed by Government, it does seem as if the population were terribly exposed to degrading influences. It is not my province to face the difficult task of dealing with these evils; and I sincerely sympathize with the Government in the heavy duty of solving the grave problems involved. But I do feel it my duty to set forth as strongly as possible the assurance that very much mischief is being worked in the country by the various intoxicants so freely and largely sold. I hardly care to distinguish between opium, alcohol, and ganja. I regard them all as bad. My mind is so impressed with the evil effects of excessive use that I do not care to consider the moderate use. I would wish Government to begin with ganja, to proceed with little delay-against opium, and then tackle alcohol. I prefer this as a matter of policy, as ganja is easiest dealt with I am prepared to prohibit all three intoxicants on account of the evil which I see done by them.
(81) Kali Das Mukerji, Sub-Deputy Collector: After advocating prohibition of ganja on the grounds of the evil effects, and stating that there would be no danger from the discontent caused owing to the small number of the consumers, the witness proceeds: "The reasons usually put forward in favour of ganja consumption are as follows: (1) that Hindu friars and jogis cannot do without it, for it helps them in their religious contemplation, and sustains them under severe exertion and exposure; (2) that it is a safeguard against disease in malarious tracts; and (3) that it serves the labouring classes as a refreshing stimulant, alleviating fatigue. I do not think that any of these reasons is conclusive, though plausible. In fact, none of them stands the test of close examination. If any intoxicating drug is at all necessary for friars and jogis alcohol, opium or siddhi may serve the purpose. Eight kinds of intoxicating drugs are prescribed in the Tantras for Hindu devotees, and it is optional with them to take any if they care to do so at all. That ganja is a safeguard against disease in malarious tracts is not necessarily true Even as a stimulant and remover of fatigue, ganja has very little to recommend it to the labouring classes A careful observation is sure to establish the fact that any ordinary labourer whose only stimulant is tobacco is on the whole a better workman than his ganja consuming brother."
Opinions against prohibition of ganja in Bengal.
571. It is impossible to quote the mass of opinion against prohibition of ganja, but the following analysis of some of the most important opinions will give an idea of the strength of these opinions :--
(1) Prohibition impossible or unnecessary, or could not be enforced without a large preventive establishment.
(1) Hon'ble D. R. Lyall, C.S.I., Member, Board of Revenue.
(2) Mr. Westmacott, Commissioner.
(9) Mr. Price, Collector.
(11) Mr. Skrine, Collector.
(21) Mr. Jenkins, Collector.
(17) Mr. Gupta, Commissioner of Excise
(46) Ganendra Nath Pal, Deputy Collector.
(197) Mr. H. M. Weatherall, Manager, Nawab's Estates, Tippera.
(2) Prohibition would be strongly resented by religious mendicants, would be regarded as an interference with religion, or would be likely to become a political danger.
(1) Hon'ble D. R. Lyall, C.S.I., Member, Board of Revenue.
(3) Mr. Westmacott, Commissioner.(19) Mr. Manisty, Collector.(18) Mr. Hare, Collector.
(16) Mr. Marindin, Collector.
(32) Mr. Bedford, Deputy Commissioner.
(63) Abhilas Chandra Mukharji, Deputy Collector.
(62) Kanti Bhushan Sen, Deputy Collector of Excise.
(163) Maharaja Bahadur Sir Jotendra Mohan Tagore, K.C.S.I.
(174) Radhika Churn Sen, Zamindar.
(175) Raghonandan Parsad, Zamindar.
.(185) Jogendra Krishna Rat Chaudhri.
(207) Purnendu Narayan Sinha.
(2o8) Mahendra Chandra Mitra, Chairman, Naihati Municipality.
(92) Mr. Ricketts, Manager, Nilgiri State.
(217) Biprodas Banarji, Pleader, Newspaper Editor, and Chairman, Baraset Municipality.
(250) District Board, Monghyr.
(228) Jadubans Sahai, Vice-Chairman, Arrah Municipality
(3) Prohibition might lead to the use of dhatura or other intoxicantsworse than ganja.
(21) Mr. Jenkins, Collector.
(46) Ganendra Nath Pal, Deputy Collector.
(62) Kanti Bhushan Sen, Deputy Collector of Excise.
(161) Maharaja Girijnath, Roy Bahadur.(164) Raja Surja Kanta Acharjya, Bahadur.
(167) Radha Balav Chaudhri, Rai Bahadur.
(233) Secretary, Rajshahi Association.
(217) Biprodas Banarji, Pleader, &c.
Assam.Assam.Opinions in favour of prohibition of ganja.
572. The opinions in favour of prohibition of ganja in Assam are those of a Civil Surgeon, the Secretary to the Tezpur Raiyats Association, the Secretary to the Upper Assam .Association, a merchant, and a pensioned Overseer, Public Works Department, and member of a Local Board. There is nothing especially to note in these opinions.
573. Against prohibition we have the Commissioner of the Assam Valley, the Commissioner of Excise, the Director of Land Records and Agriculture, an Officiating Deputy Commissioner, a Civil Surgeon, an Extra Assistant Commissioner, a medical practitioner, four pleaders, and four planters.
Mr. Driberg, Commissioner of Excise, says: "It would be useless to prohibit the use of ganja in a province like Assam, surrounded as it is by independent hill people, who would cultivate it in their hills and smuggle it down with little risk of detection. Any prohibition will only lead to the increase of illicit consumption and to the secret use of the drug, which would be decidedly bad; of course, stop cultivation in Bengal, and the prohibition of the use of excise ganja could be enforced; but there would be serious discourse, though in this province it might not amount to a political danger, and the prohibition would be followed by recourse to opium, and in some cases to alcohol." The evidence of planters tends generally to show that the use of ganja by the garden coolies, who (except in the western districts of the Assam Valley and those of the Surma Valley, all of which border on Bengal) are the principal consumers, produces no serious effects. There is nothing in any of the Assam evidence to controvert these views.
North-Western Provinces.Opinions in favour of prohibition of ganja and charas.
574. The advocates of prohibition of ganja and charas in the North-Western Provinces are as follows: 6 subordinate civil officers, 9 subordinate medical officers and private medical practitioners, and 18 non-officials. Butfew of these witnesses give any reasons for their opinions. And the Commission are not able to quote any one of them as having any special weight. The only opinion which it appears worth while to quote is that of a Collector (Mr. Addis (4), who does not, however, specifically recommend prohibition. He says: "It probably would be feasible to prohibit the use of all these drugs. Public opinion is against their use, and the people are very obedient to authority. The prohibition would certainly lead to the increased use of opium and alcohol.
Opinions against prohibition.
575. On the other hand, the opinions against prohibition are very strong. The following is an analysis of some of the most important:-
(1) Prohibition impossible or unnecessary, or could not be enforced without a large preventive establishment.
(1) Hon'ble A. Cadell, Member, Board of Revenue.(5) Mr. Stoker, Commissioner of Excise(12) Mr. Brownrigg, Officiating Deputy Commissioner.(2o) Mr. Partridge, Officiating Deputy Commissioner.(9) Mr. Jackson, Collector.(10) Mr. Tweedy, Collector.(17) Mr. Spencer, Officiating Collector.(34) Mr. Cockburn, Assistant Sub-Deputy Opium Agent.(32) Mr. Robarts, Joint Magistrate.(26) Rama Shankar, Assistant Collector(24) Mr. Rogers, Assistant Commissioner.(191) Kanwar Kundan Singh, Zamindar. (12) Mr. Brownrigg, Officiating Deputy Commissioner.(9) Mr. Jackson, Collector.(10) Mr. Tweedy, Collector.(34) Mr. Cockburn, Assistant Sub-Deputy Opium Agent.(21) Mr. Gillan, Assistant Collector, (26) Rama Shankar, Assistant Collector.o(46) Panditi Bishambar Nath, Deputy Collector.(28)Mr. Bruce, Assistant Collector..(33)Pandit Sri Lulls Officiating Joint(227) Syad Mahammad Nuh, Zamindar.
(3) Prohibition might lead to use of dhatura or other intoxicants worse than ganja or charas.
(6) Mr. Stoker, Commissioner of Excise.(15) Mr. Ferard, Collector (28) Mr. Bruce, Assistant Collector.(51) Thakur Tukman Singh, Deputy Collector. Punjab 576. The advocates of the prohibition of charas Opinions for prohibition of charas. in the Punjab are as follows:-- 3 superior civil officers, 3 subordinate civi1 officers, 2 subordinate medical officers, and 10 non-officials.It may be noted that Mr. Ogilvie, Financial Commissioner in charge of Excise (2), records the following opinion: "I am inclined to hold the opinion, though I am not quite satisfied on the subject, that the use of charas is so deleterious that it might be permissible, both on grounds of morality and utility, for its use to be prohibited or for the price of the drug to be so artificially raised as to confine its consumption to a very small number indeed. The reason why I say that I am not quite satisfied on the point is because I have not sufficiently investigated the facts. All that I can, therefore, say with certainty is that my opinion tends to the direction above indicated I would observe, however, with regard to the Yarkand trade that the imposition of a duty so high as to be practically prohibitive would very considerably injure that trade, . because the Yarkand trader in exchange for the churns takes back the products of the Punjab to his own country or to Kashmir. The extinction or serious injury of the Yarkand trade would, of course, be a very regrettable circumstance. On the other hand from my personal knowledge as Deputy Commissioner of the Dera · Ismail Khan District, I would say no harm would accrue to general trade on the western border from the prohibition of churns."
Mr. Coldstream. Deputy Commissioner (5), though he does not seem to have formed a definite opinion regarding the moderate use of the drugs, says: "The gradual stoppage of import of ganja and charas might be tried. It is not as yet a very widely-spread habit, but it might grow. It would cause gent pain and discontent if the prohibition were sudden and comprehensive, but this would not amount to political danger. A prohibitory measure regarding ganja and charas would no doubt be followed at once by a recourse to opium and alcohol. I can quite believe the moderate occasional use of the drugs may be comparatively harmless, but I am not aware that they are commonly used occasionally and in moderation. They may, however, be so used for all I know."
Mr. Wilson, Deputy Commissioner (14), says that he should like to see the experiment made in selected districts of prohibiting trade in charas (and bhang) all together. As regards charas, he thinks the prohibition would be feasible, as it is imported, and the discontent would be insignificant. knows of no class, such as labourers, who take the drug in moderation as an ordinary stimulant. Among fakirs and other excessive consumers, he thinks the use produces great evils, and that there is no more harmful drug which they are likely to take to. He does not know anything of the use of dhatura except its administration as a poison. He thinks sudden prohibition would be cruel. He would therefore begin by taxation and gradually raise it, leaving the question of total prohibition to be decided by experience. The evidence of Arjan Singh, Extra Assistant Commissioner (19), is much to the same effect, but he states that the use of dhatura is general among the followers of Siva at the Shivratri in the Dera Ghazi Khan district. He says it is taken in very small quantities, so that its effect is almost imperceptible. General Millet (69), formerly District Superintendent of Police, would like to see all intoxicants prohibited which cannot be proved to be actually necessary. He thinks gradual prohibition of the hemp drugs feasible, and that educated, intelligent native public opinion, which to a great extent leads that of the lower classes, would support prohibition. Discontent at first among the degraded classes would be inevitable, but there would be no political danger, though tact and discretion would be needed and calm-minded European officials at the helm. He fears that recourse to alcohol would be the result. Shekh Riaz Husain, zamindar (67), thinks that "having regard for the welfare and good of the people which the British Government has in view, the prohibition of the hemp drugs (including bhang) is imperatively necessary. Loyal and intelligent subjects and well-wishers of the country would welcome the prohibition, though the unscrupulous habitual consumers would indeed dislike it. But as it would be for the good of the people, it is not hoped that any class of persons would resent it. The enforcement of the prohibition should be effected like other new laws and regulations, exceptions being made to some extent in the case of the existing old habitual consumers, because its sudden stoppage would cause them serious privation. The discontent resulting would not amount to a political danger. If it were possible to make charas as expensive as alcohol, that would be one way of dealing with the subject."Sardar Sujan Singh, Rai Bahadur, Contractor (59), considers charas as certainly most injurious, and thinks its use should most certainly be prohibited. It does no good to anybody. There are not many kahars who take it. Those who do, go to the bad. He does not know of the use. of dhatura as an intoxicant. The use of madak and chandu is more injurious than charas, and they also should be prohibited as well as liquor. He would not recommend immediate prohibition, but would put on such a tax, increasing it gradually, as to make it impossible for the majority of people to buy them at all.
Dr. H. M. Clark, Missionary (46), would like to see charas prohibited if it were possible, He thinks. however, that alcohol does more harm than charas. He cannot believe that a moderate use of charas is possible. Fakirs and devotees are the chief consumers. Devi Dayal, Editor of the Kaitistha Mitra,* Lahore, circulation 300 copies (83), says: "If charas be called poison (fatal, killing, murdering drug), it is not an exaggeration of any kind. It is a great vice to smoke charas. May God not give this even in the lot of a foe. Only just people as have bad luck get engaged in this vice. Government will do their subjects a very great obligation by saving them from early death and whirlpool of destruction and ruin. My present belief is that there is no such thing as moderation in the use of chards, because, when a charsi visits another, he offers him the chillum, and they smoke in company. The smoke is thus repeated frequently." Consumers acknowledge that they would have no complaint; and if Government were to prohibit the use of charas to-morrow, the bad habit would die out of itself. Ganesh Das, Pleader, and President, Sarin Sabha, Hoshiarpur (77): Charas jogis, sanyasis, and suthra fakirs, andis consumed by shoemakers, musicians, by some Khatris and Brahmins. The physical effects are very bad, and most consumers become incapacitated for work and lead a miserable life. The subcommittee of the Sarin Sabha appointed to consider the subject recommend prohibition. Enquiry was not made from medical experts. Consumers would not take to other intoxicants, because the intoxication of chards is not like that of opium or other intoxicants. The greatest loss would be that of the traders of Hoshiarpur and Amritsar, who take merchandise to Ladakh and Yarkand and bring back charas.
Opinions against prohibition of charas.
577. The following is an analysis of some of the most important evidence against prohibition
(1) Prohibition impossible or unnecessary, or could not be enforced without a large preventive establishment.
(1) Mr. Rivaz, First Financial Commissioner.(3) Mr. Thorburn, Commissioner. (6) Mr. Ibbetson, Deputy Commissioner.(8) Mr. Maconachie, Deputy Commissioner. (13) Mr. Drummond, Deputy Commissioner. (66) Kazi Syad Ahmad, retired Government servant.
(2) Prohibition would be strongly. resented by religious mendicants, or would be regarded as an interference with religion, or would be likely to became a political danger.
(3) Mr. Thorburn, Commissioner. (6) Mr. Ibbetson, Deputy Commissioner.
(10) Mr. A. Anderson, Deputy Commissioner.
(8) Mr. Maconachie, Deputy Commissioner.
(13)Mr. Drummond, Deputy Commissioner.
(29)Mr. Brown, Officiating Deputy Inspector-General of Police This paper has ceded to
(39) Thakur Das, Rai Bahadur, Assistant Surgeon. (36) Bhagwan Dass, Assistant Surgeon.
(25) Muhammad Ikramulla Khan, Khan Bahadur, Honorary Extra Assistant Commissloner. (27) Muhammad Barkat Ali Khan, Khan Bahadur, retired Extra Assistant Commissioner
(86) Bahram Khan, Honorary Magistrate.(93) Gujar Ma!, Trader.(94) Jawala Bhagat, Trader.(3) Prohibition might lead to use of dhatura or other intoxicants worse than charas. (76) Babu P. C. Chatterji Judge, Chief Court.(10) Mr. A. Anderson, Deputy Commissioner.(18) Rai Bahadur Bhagwan Dass, Extra Assistant Commissioner.(39) Thakur Das, Rai Bahadur, Assistant Surgeon.(27) Muhammad Barkat All Khan, Khan Bahadur, retired Extra Assistant Commissioner.(85) Lachman Dass, Merchant.
Opinions.in favour of the prohibition of ganja.
578. There are only two witnesses in the Central Provinces who advocate the prohibition of ganja.Honorary Surgeon-Major Harrison (38) on the retired CentralProvinces.list, employed in the Kalahandi State,. Advocates gradual prohibition, "which would cause discontent, but not any serious danger. The prohibition would no doubt be followed by recourse to alcohol and other stimulants." The other is a pensioned hospital assistant, who also advocates gradual prohibition.
Opinions against prohibition of ganja.
5 79. The following is an analysis of some of the most important evidence against prohibition:-
(1) .Mr. Neill, Judicial Commissioner.(4) Mr. Laurie, Officiating Secretary to Chief Commissioner.(2) Colonel Bowie, Commissioner. (9) Mr. Drake-Brockman, Officiating Excise Commissioner.(39) Dr. Prentie, Civil Surgeon.(.66) Rev. Israel Jacob, Missionary.
a) Prohibition would be strongly resented by religious mendicants, or would be regarded as an interference with religion, or would be likely to become a political danger.
(1) Mr. Neill, Judicial Commissioner.(4) Mr. Laurie, Officiating Secretary'to Chief Commissioner.(2) Colonel Bowie, Commissioner.(3) Mr. Anderdson, Officiating CommissiOner.(6) Mr. Duff, Deputy Commissioner.(27} Mr. Lowrie, Officiating Deputy Conservator of Forests(17)Batuk Bharthy (65) Rev. Israel Jacob, Missionary.(68)Rev. Oscar Lohr, Missionary.(22)Vinayak Balkrishna Khare, Excise Daroga.(59) (47)Mir Iradad Ali Honorary Magistrate.
(2) Prohibition might lead to use of dhatura or other intoxicants worse than ganja.
(1) Mr. Neill, judicial Commissioner.(9) Mr. Drake-Brockman, Officiating Excise Commissioner. (39) Dr. Prentie, Civil Surgeon. (64) Rao Sahib Balwantrao Govindrao Bhuskute, Jagirdar.
Madrass Opinions in favour of the prohibition of ganja
580. The Madras witnesses in favour of prohibition are a Civil Surgeon, a subordinate civil officer, a medical practitioner, a Hindu priest, and six missionaries. Dr. King, (85) says- "The restriction of the sale of ganja under conditions similar to those required for poisonous drugs in Great Britain would be an unqualified blessing to the country, thus contrasting with the action taken against agitation which I believe to be unnecessary and mischievous. I consider special measures should be taken to restrain the use of ganja by sepoys, and especially to prevent the young sepoy from acquiring the habit" In oral examination however, Dr. King, stated as follows- "My opinion of the effect of the moderate use in impairing the moral sense and inducing laziness, etc., is a general impression and not based on actual observation. My impression is based on the fact that persons alleged to have been ganja smokers have presented these characteristics. They were pointed out as notorious ganja smokers. I did not discriminate in these cases between the moderate and excessive use."
Synd Mahmud(I22) says: "It is an unquestionable fact that ganja, bhang, and charas are poisons, and this fact is admitted by all. In my opinion their suppression would be an act of virtue deserving of future reward, but it is not advisable to suppress their use at once. Its suppression should be regulated under certain rules without any loss to the State. To the best of my knowledge and researches, alcohol cannot be safely used as a substitute for ganja, charas, and bhang."
Rev. Mr. Laflamme (153) speaking on behalf of the Baptist Missionary Conferences of the Presidency, advocates prohibition in these terms: "Owing to the scarcity of shops in these parts practical prohibition exists. Much that is consumed is consumed illicitly. The introduction of the license system Seems to have had no appreciable effect on the use of the drugs. The ganja is nearly all grown by the consumers in their own yards." "The drugs should all be so safeguarded as to prevent or minimize any possible harm resulting from their abuse." "The general sense of the people is opposed to the use of the drugs." So far as the witness can gather, the members of the Mission are. united in the belief that in these parts hemp drugs are far less injurious than opium and alcohol; thus far that the latter are not only much more extensively used, but much more baleful in, their effects. Two other missionaries, though neutral in opinion, are worth quoting Rev. Mr. Pittendrigh Missionary (160) says that he would have ultimate prohibition in view if possible, but there is not much ground for special interference in anything that he has seen. Another Missionary, the Rev. Mr. Goffin. (145), cannot undertake to criticise the present or any system of exise administration. His impression is that Government would be wise to adopt strictly "let-alone" policy, leaving it to the spread of education and enlightenment among the people to prevent and lessen all its effects. The province government should be carefully to watch such effects, and wherever and whenever necessary interfere with prohibitive legislation. Such necessity, however, in his opinion would not often occur.
Opinions against prohibition
581. Among those who are opposed to prohibition, the evidence of the following witnesses may be quoted :--
(1) Hon'ble C. S. Crole, Member, Board. of Revenue.(8) Mr. Willock, Collector.(14) Mr. Bradley, Collector.(19) Raja K. C. Manevedan, Collector. (23) Mr. Campbell, Sub-Collector.(3o) Mr. Levy, Acting Deputy Collector, Salt and Abkari.
(2) Prohibition would be strongly resented by religious mendicants, or would be a political danger.
(8) Mr. Willock, Collector.(10) Mr. Stokes, Collector.(6) Mr. Sewell, Collector. (30) Mr. Levy, Acting Deputy Collector; Salt and Abkari.(94) Dr. Walker, Civil Surgeon. (95) Dr. Sarkies, Civil Surgeon. (38) Buddhavarapu Narayana Murthi Pantalugaru, Assistant Collector.(23) Mr. Campbell, Sub-Collector.(121) H.S.A.M..Manju Miyyah Sahib, Medical Practitioner.
(3). Prohibition might lead to use of dhatura or other intoxicants worse than ganja.
(23) Mr. Campbell, Sub-Collector,
Bombay. Opinions in favour of prohibition of ganja.
582. For the prohibition of ganja or charas in Bombay and Sind, we have the following advocates: in Bombay two mamlatdars, a hospital assistant, and a medical practitioner; and in Sind a health officer, two hospital assistants, and a. banker. There is not much that need be quoted from the evidence of these witnesses. It may be noted that the Hon'ble T. D. Mackenzie, Commissioner of Abkari, etc. (1), holds that the policy of Government in relation to the hemp drugs should be one of restriction, as far as restriction, 'is possible, and that, if absolute prohibition were possible, he thinks it would be a good thing. Owing, however, to the fact that the territories of the Bombay Presidency interlace so extensively with foreign territory, and to the feeling which would be aroused among the consumers and those who sympathize with them, it would in his opinion be impossible or undesirable. The Secretary to the Arya Samaj in Bombay (109) states that while fully sympathising with the objects of the Commission, which are apparently understood to be the restriction or prohibition of the drugs, the Arya Samaj "is of opinion that any Governmental action in the direction of further restricting the preparation and sale of the drug will be productive of very little good. The ' * Samaj believes that education of the masses is the only proper and effective . remedy for correcting such baneful habits, and fears that any compulsion in this matter is likely to drive the consumers of these comparatively innoccuous drugs to the use. of more injurious intoxicants that are plentifully supplied to the people like the various preparations containing alcohol." The Samaj.prays that the Government will devise measures for the restriction of the sale of European liquor in India. and leave the hemp drugs to themselves. The only thorough advocate of prohibition whose opinion is worth specifying is Rao SahibShesho Krisna Madkavi (41), who considers-such prohibition very necessary and holds that, although there would be temporary discontent among the consumers such discontent would not amount to a political danger "the people in this part of the country being loyal and of mild nature. and the proportion of the persons using bhang and ganja to the general population being too small to be taken into consideration."
Opinions against prohibition
583. On the other hand, the opinions against prohibition are weighty. The following may be specially quoted:
(1) Prohibition impossible or unnecessary, or could not be enforced without a large preventive establishment. Bombay
(1) Hon'ble T. D. Mackenzie, Commissioner of Abkari, etc (3) Mr. Vidal, Chief Secretary to Government. (10) Mr. Monteath, CoIlector. (12) Mr. Cumine, Acting Collector. (53) Mr. Vincent, C.I.E., officiating commissioner of Police. (110) Rai Bahadur Vishvanath Keshava Joglekar, Merchant. (108) Daji Abaji Khare, Honorary Secretary, East Indian Association.
(1) Mr. James, Commissioner in Sind. (26) Seth Vishindas Nihalchand, Zamindar and Merchant.
(2) Prohibition would be strongly resented by religious mendicants, or would be regarded as an interference with religion, or would be likely to become a political danger.
(l) Hon'ble T. D. Mackenzie, Commissioner of Abkari, etc. (2) Mr. Reid, Commissioner ganja. Apart from all this, there is another consideration which has been urged in some quarters with a manifestation of strong feeling, and to which the Commission are disposed to attach some importance, viz., that to repress the drugs in India and to leave alcohol alone would be misunderstood by a large number of persons who believe, and apparently not without reason, that more harm is done in this country by the latter than by the former. The conclusion of the Commission regarding bhang has been given in paragraph 564; under all the circumstances they now unhesitatingly give their verdict against such a violent measure as total prohibition in respect of any of the hemp drugs.
II. The policy advocated is one of control and restriction aimed at suppressing the excessive use and restraining the moderate use within due limits (Chapter XlV, paragraph 586)
Policy in regard to hemp drugs.
586 Failing prohibition, the question arises, what should be the policy of the Policy in regard to hemp drugs. Government in regard to the hemp drugs? On this point some important evidence has been recorded, and the Commission deem it to be within the scope of their duty to state in general terms their own conclusions. In the first place, then, they are of opinion that in view of the harmful effects produced by the excessive use, and in exceptional cases even by the moderate use, of the drugs, the action of the Government should be directed towards restraining the former and avoiding all encouragement to the latter. The object should be to prevent the consumers, as far as may be possible, from doing harm to themselves and to lessen the inducements to the formation of the habit which might lead to such harm In aiming at this object, however, other considerations need to be kept in view. There is in the first place the question of illicit consumption. If the restriction. imposed by Government is counterbalanced by a corresponding increase in smuggling no advantage is gained but, on the contrary, a moral wrong is done to the community apart from the annoyance necessitated by such restrictions. Than, if there is a legitimate use of the drugs, restrictions should not be such as to make the exercise of this use impossible. The Commission have formed the opinion that there is a legitimate use of the hemp drugs, and that it exists generally among the poorest of the population. Again, if the restrictions lead to the use of more deleterious substances, or even drive the people from a habit the evil of which is known to another of which the evil maybe greater, they are no longer justifiable. The policy of Government must be tempered by all these considerations, and the neglect of any one of them may lead to serious error.
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