I just read an article that is reporting a police crackdown in Nepal on people smoking marijuana at a Hindu festival. The irony is, the cops let some people smoke marijuana freely, while others were promptly arrested. Sadhus are allowed to smoke marijuana during a night festival in honor of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. However, everyone else is not. Seems kind of hypocritical to me, but that’s still better than America I suppose, in that we do not allow marijuana consumption for religious purposes.
According to the article which originally appeared at iol.co.za, “We have arrested 70 people including dozens of youths who took excessive marijuana. We have not arrested any sadhus,” said Nepal police spokesman Dhiraj Pratap Shah. Thousands of pilgrims travel to the Pashupatinath temple complex in Kathmandu every year from all over Nepal and India to mark the Shivaratri festival.
At one time the government used to provide marijuana for the occasion, but authorities decided last year to begin enforcing a ban on sadhus selling the drug because of complaints they were dealing to local people. “The Pashupati Area Development Trust has allowed the sadhus to use the drugs only for themselves,” Pratap told AFP. He said 4,500 officers, 1,800 of them armed, and 200 detectives in plain clothes were deployed to maintain law and order inside the temple.
Sadhus, who renounce all worldly possessions and usually live in caves or temples, have been coming to Kathmandu for hundreds of years to celebrate the festival. They mark it by smoking cannabis because Hindu mythology suggests Shiva himself enjoyed the drug. Shivaratri is a public holiday in India and Nepal, where all government offices and schools are shut for the day. Huge camps are set up to accommodate the visiting sadhus, many of whom arrive weeks ahead of the celebrations.”
Sounds like a heck of a time to me! I know if I was a teenager living in Nepal, I would be trying to sneak into this thing as well. It reminds me of sneaking into the Oregon Country Fair as a teenager….good times.