Free Essay

Opium

In: Historical Events

Submitted By lebronz
Words 1103
Pages 5
“[Opium] is a poisonous thing. Its growth is in no way beneficial to the country. It produces an effect which demoralizes the people. Physical growth is deteriorated and children are affected also.” Babu Kshetra Nath Mukerjee argues the cultivation of poppy, the plant from which opium is derived, is extremely detrimental to the entire Indian population. But is Opium consumption really any worse than alcohol? And is there any solution that can simultaneously protect Indian zemindars, lower consumption, shelter habitual users, and ensure Indian prosperity? Babu and Shbikh Raza Husain Khan certainly believe so, and offer insight to each of their own thoughts concerning Opium.
Aside from medicinal uses and the addictive nature of opium, Babu claims there is no reason to cultivate the drug. Opium use is “most injurious to the persons who use it and has its evil effects upon the children also.” Still, because of its euphoric high and high demand, poppy seems the perfect cash crop to cultivate. Contrary to this belief, “Tobacco or sugarcane crops are better paying crops than poppy.” “In reality,” Buba continues, “cultivators lose 36 rupees per ‘bigha’ from growing poppy.” Buba, a landowner and cultivator himself, stresses these findings in his book and agricultural publications. Nonetheless, Indian consumption exceeded nearly 900,000 pounds of opium every year. 1 Buba conveys his concerns not out of desire for personal gain, but to ensure the general welfare and well-being of his fellow countrymen. In fact, Buba once “had the occasion to direct some cultivators to grow tobacco instead of poppy. They made a profit of nearly 40 rupees per bigha.” Regardless, prohibiting or illegalizing the use of opium arouses many questions and problems. Uncertainties with medicinal use, government intervention, distribution, health centers, and medical doctors require a complex solution, however, Buba offers several answers to these problems. “[Opium production] should be stopped altogether, but attention should be drawn to the fact that it must be lessened gradually. It must be sold to the Medical Department so that each man might be registered, and then each habitual consumer might get opium from the Medical Department.” “…medical men should keep a register of each person, and certificates should be given as to the circumstances why they may take opium.” Opponents of Buba’s plan question not only the inconvenience of traveling to medical centers, but how the government can fund establishing these centers. In addition, there are uncertainties surrounding who can be determined a medical doctor and distribute the drug. In his response, Bubba states “[There need only be] one Assistant Surgeon in each headquarter of the district, and there are at least four or five native doctors in each sub-division. Men will not have to travel to get opium from the district treasury. If there be centres they will not have to travel into distant lands for the purpose of getting opium. There will be less smuggling also.” Instead, “The already existing medical centers will [begin prescribing opium]” Buba also explains how this method will be able to monitor very closely for excessive consumption. When asked whether alcohol should also be banned, Buba responded “Yes, but [alcohol] does not effect the law of hereditary. It has an evil effect upon the persons who use it immoderately.” Buba’s unbiased response visibly demonstrates that he is passionate about not only eliminating opium, but all harmful drugs in order to protect the people of India.
Shbikh, a proponent of Buba’s ideas, also shares his feelings regarding opium. “Opium-eating often proves detrimental to the morality and health of consumers. I do not think that much benefit accrues from poppy cultivation.” Ironically, Shbikh does however allow pahi kasht, or tenant farmers, to cultivate poppy on his lands. In his defense, Shbikh claims he is “not in favor of immediate prohibition” but also adds a crucial idea that Buba should adopt to his plan. “…many opium-eaters will find it difficult to live without[opium]. Cultivation should be gradually abolished and opium be sold only for medical purposes. By that I mean that Government should stop giving advances. Government should encourage the cultivation of other crops and make advances for sugarcane.” Shbikh is referring to the advances the Indian government was currently paying to poppy cultivators that other crop growers did not receive. In his opinion, it was these pre-harvest advances that made poppy cultivation lucrative. Although Shbikh, a large landowner himself, was unsure how profitable poppy cultivation truly is, he states that government advances offered for other crops is a solution to gradually end opium consumption. Shbikh brilliantly suggests the government establish a bank, and provide an advance, or lend money to each non-poppy cultivator, to be refunded after that year’s harvest.
After examining Buba and Shbik’s responses to the Commissioner’s questions, I was effectively persuaded Opium cultivation should cease. The type of responses shared by the pair were oddly shaped by the Commissioner’s questions, however, very important matters were brought to light. For each interviewee, the Commissioner foremost set out to determine whether each spoke out of any personal bias or for any personal gain. Many may argue government crop advances would benefit large landowners such as Buba and Shbik. While this is true, the benefits advances may offer would not outweigh the personal losses each would accrue from the soaring increase in supply of each of their crops and the subsequent lower prices. Buba and Shbik offer a compelling argument because they have nothing to gain from opium prohibition and exhibit non-biased interpretations of all drugs including alcohol. Regretably, however, the way the Commissioner proposes his questions may lead us to assume his pro-opium stance. The Commissioner fails to inquire how devastating and unhealthy opium consumption is. Instead, his questions tend to be more socio-economical—as if he’s desperate to find a flaw or bias in each interviewee’s logic.
Unfortunately, Buba and Shbik overlook the most important aspect of opium and the immense cultural roll it plays. Similarly to alcohol, opium is crucial to many cultural and religious Indian practices. The social perception of opium not as a drug, but as a symbol of Indian culture in general creates an almost sacrilegious feeling amongst Indians towards opium prohibition. In addition, the economic implications would be devastating for the large number of shops, stores, and bars that relied on opium to attract customers. These are two major ideas that Buba, Shbik, and other anti-opium reformers needed to resolve in their plan to illegalize opium consumption.

"opium." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. .…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Hated Minorities

...and Their Association with Hated Minorities Opium dens and the Chinese Opium first appeared in El Paso, Texas. The Chinese immigrated to El Paso and began selling Opium to Caucasians. Although the Chinese have been smoking Opium for years, it finally became popular with the Caucasians. The business boomed because the Chinese were selling their Opium along the railroad. Almost every stop along the railroad across New Mexico and Texas had one Opium shop. The Chinese were becoming wealthy that led to a racial divide. El Paso said the Chinese were taking advantage of “fine folks”. This problem led to an ordinance in March of 1882 prohibiting excessive use of Opium. Then in July of 1882, Caucasians were prohibited of even entering an Opium establishment. I found this interesting because the government allowed the Chinese to smoke Opium way before these laws were established. They didn’t start cracking down on the issue until Opium became a problem with Caucasian railroad workers. The government showed no concern for the Chinese and yet they passed laws to target the Chinese and not punish the Caucasian males who were originally the problem. San Francisco, California was one of the first places Opium became immersed in America culture along with the Chinese people. The Chinese were isolated from Caucasians during this time, which allowed them to create Chinatown. Since the Chinese were so isolated and frowned upon, this led to opium dens. Almost every store, laundry, grocery......

Words: 1011 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Opium Wars

...Introduction People have blamed corporate greed for many social and economic problems, such as the pollution of our resources, the unfair pay for the working class, major recessions, and many more. It seems that some people are unaware of how much influence corporations have when war is involved. Corporations have a heavy hand in war profiteering when it comes to oil, weapons, and even essential items such as water and food. There are many examples of corporate greed’s influence on war, although I had never heard of a war directly funded or coerced by corporations until I did some research on China’s Opium Wars. Britain and China’s First Encounter The relationship between the Chinese and the British has been unstable from the beginning. Their first encounter resulted in an immediate attack on each other on the high seas. Nevertheless, on August sixth of 1793 a fleet of ships came to shore carrying an important passenger, the British Ambassador, Lord Macartney. The objective was to open trade between Britain and China. Lord Macartney brought with him many gifts for Emperor Chi’ien Lung that had been selected to represent the best that Britain had to trade. Lord Macartney met with Emperor Ch’ien Lung in a large horsehair tent chosen by the Emperor to show he was meeting with simple barbarians rather than equals. Foreigners are required to wear Chinese clothing and practice the Kowtow. The Kowtow is a ritual of......

Words: 1901 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Drug Trade Research Paper

...International Security Research Paper Nate Henneman During the mid 90s, Afghanistan surpassed Myanmar, as the leading producer and exporter of opium in the world. Their rise has been attributed to the increased violence and anti-government organizations giving drug lords the ability to operate without much interference from the government. Afghanistan has extremely fertile lands, which makes growing poppy plants (opium is extracted from the poppy seed) very profitable considering the total opium market value is around $4 billion per year. The lack of governmental intervention coupled with the well suited growing conditions make Afghanistan along with other countries in the Middle East, the perfect manufacturing and shipping or distribution plant of opium in the world. Even though opium is used highly in western medicine when making morphine-based drugs to help relieve pain, opium in the drug trade most often comes in the illegal form of heroin; one of the most abused and highly addictive drugs used recreationally across the globe. Prolonged use causes dependency and constipation, along with the increased risk of contracting blood borne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. Death by overdose is very prominent as well, around 100,000 per year die from heroin overdose, and around 30,000 of those deaths occur in Russia. “Afghan drug production is an international rather than a local or regional threat,” Russia’s drug control chief, Viktor Ivanov has said. The United States,...

Words: 3085 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Decline of Qing Dynasty

...and foreign imperialism contributed to the dynasty’s collapse. One reason for the decline of the Qing Dynasty was that the rulers were actually Manchus and instituted many things in China which the Han people did not agree with - one was the practice of shaving the head but leaving the sides and a long tail required for all males - this practice was brought to China by the Manchus and the Han people saw it as an emblem of their domination by non-domestic rulers. Opium was also a major reason for the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Opium is a drug found in the Opium Poppy Plant and contains the major ingredient in heroin. The British were in possession of a very potent strain of Opium and illegally sold it to China. This cause most people in China to get addicted to Opium. This was detrimental to Chinese society because since everyone was always high on Opium nothing got done in China. Also when China refused to legally trade Opium with the British the British used this as a reason to invade China, resulting in the Opium War. Multiple rebellions arose from the national population as well. To name one, the Boxer rebellion occurred. Though it was squashed with the help of Western nations it demonstrated the Chinese people were not willing to take being dominated by Manchurians and Westerners. Finally, Western ideology also made its way to China - Sun Yatsen was strongly influenced by republican ideology from the USA and also socialism from Europe. Coming back to China he......

Words: 498 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Opium War

...Revolution take home essay The Opium War The Opium War lasted from the late 1830’s until 1860, encompassing a series of conflicts between China and the British Empire over trade and diplomacy. Basically what happened was China traded a lot of goods including tea, and in return China gained opium that the British Empire imported from India. However, when China realized that opium was ruining their nation through mass addiction, China outlawed opium. This lead to war with The British Empire, because the British didn’t want to be pushed out of this important trade that they had with China. The British ultimately won because they had a navy and China did not. Through these naval conquests the British acquired the small fisher island of Hong Kong and made it into a large trade port under British rule. Somewhat were some of the deeper issues of these wars and why were they unavoidable? Who stood to benefit most in this lopsided war and why didn’t the Chinese win? From the beginning, the ruling Tang dynasty opposed the importation of opium into its territory and actively discouraged its use by placing a stigma of immorality on those who used the drug. However, the British importers saw opium, as merely a product for which there was a strong demand for in China. Opium did not have anything to do with morality or lack thereof in the British mind. These two divergent viewpoints......

Words: 531 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Religion as the Opium of the People

...“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.” – Karl Marx Upon reading the article of Karl Marx on “Religion is the Opium of the People”, I have come to realize that it is somewhat true that religion is created by men, it is not imposed by God, because then that kind of God would just like be a dictator. Man creates religion as their source of happiness, to ease their sufferings in the real world, to numb the pain and miseries of reality, to feel secure and to belong in society. This is a projection of false happiness, it is only illusory because man escapes reality and its consequences, and he does not face the challenges in life. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons which greatly contribute to the stunted growth of humanity. Man becomes idle and becomes dependent to a being that is a projection of his own mind, an abstract reality. He turns to a fatherly-figure God, who, in his own perception, will always be there to pick him up whenever he falls, to save him from his miseries and sufferings, and to be his refuge. Man needs to grow and to be responsible for his own actions. Man needs to make a move on his own, to take action to cure the epidemic of laziness and dependency spreading in society. Thus, I also agree that the eradication of religion will lead to the true happiness of man. Since man created religion, they use this and the name of God as their defense and reason for everything that they......

Words: 603 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Religion as the Opium of the People

...Religion as the Opium of the People For Karl Marx, human dignity is grounded in human labor. It transforms nature into a meaningful whole as well as man's life. It gives him his life meaning and purpose, for through labor, it gives man the chance to express his creativity. People encounter life as a chain of complications rather than transcendental qualities. Karl Marx found this in religion. In Marx's “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of right,” he made a notion of religion being an opiate or opium, and many others. But what does this religion-opium statement imply? For Marx, he divulges that just as opium intoxicates people with erroneous feelings of well-being without relief, so does religion. Religion promises some cure, some form of shelter form human miseries and a temporary relief, when in reality; life is full of suffering, an affliction. It seems that in religion, when man puts more of himself to God, he loses a part of himself, and when he puts himself into God, he detaches from the reality of life. But here, Marx does not mean that religion drugs the people so as to dull their minds, rather it gives comfort and consoles people who are facing difficulties and suffering. The realization of pain and suffering is shown among the marginalized people. Those among the lower margins of human classes are waiting to be saved. Marx is saying that through class struggle, it is where human consciousness is determined. For the marginalized, he struggles......

Words: 449 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Chinas First Opium War

...Chinas Opium War By: Zachary Kern In this paper, I will discuss Chinas opium problem within the 1830’s. At this point, the British Empire has established a routine shipping triangle between ports in England to ports in India; here British merchants would pick up large shipments of opium. From India, the merchants headed towards China, Canton in particular. From here the large shipments were sold to merchants using large British clipper ships, who distributed the large shipments of opium to smaller smuggling ships called “fast dragons” to be dispersed amongst the vast provinces of China. I will discuss the impact of this trade triangle for both the British and the Chinese. Also to be discussed is Imperial Commissioner Lin and his anti-opium campaign in China as well as on the British front. The Chinese and British had contrasting views on Lin and his campaign to end the mass profits the British were collecting from poisoning the Chinese community. Ultimately the opium war would conclude with the Nanjing treaty signed by the Chinese in 1842. Britain forced China to sign via threat of military and naval conquest, a tactic called gunboat diplomacy. Before we delve too far into the characters that were directly involved in the diplomacy regarding the opium situation in China, we must get a better understanding of the market conditions that the situation arose from. There is a very clear line that separates the two types of trade between the British and Chinese empires......

Words: 2327 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

The Opium Wars in China

...Sauvik Chakraborty HIST 212 Dr. Ernst Pijning The Opium Wars in China: The upheaval of isolationist China The introduction of foreign commodities in Europe raised consumerist ambitions to a frenetic level of activity as the multitudes of Europeans viewed their possession and consumption, a symbol indicative of status. The throngs of people were engaged in taking advantage of some significant exploratory achievements made by certain trailblazing expeditioners. The trade routes opened up by these explorers exposed Europe to seemingly boundless prospects of trade, which in turn facilitated the meeting of demands raised by the classes favored by such ventures. There were certain commodities that enjoyed considerably higher appeal amongst the masses than certain other commodities. Opium was one such commodity that did not enjoy widespread repute in Europe as Wolfgang Schivelbusch states in ‘Tastes of Paradise’ “[narcotics] have achieved such a tremendous such a tremendous significance in other cultures but never really gained a foothold in Europe.” (205). Opium, as a substance, has been heralded as a useful crop and was adopted as food, for anaesthetic purposes and ritualistic purposes from times immemorial. Schivelbusch states that in 19th century Europe, opium had a “regular place in the family medicine chest” and was quite frequently used as “sedative and painkiller” (206). The use of opium was becoming increasingly widespread as both urban and rural workers were......

Words: 2048 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Crimes

...certain substances. History of Drug Trafficking Chinese edicts against opium smoking were made in 1729, 1796 and 1800. Addictive drugs were prohibited in the west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the early 19th century, an illegal drugs trade in China emerged. The Chinese government retaliated by enforcing a ban on the import of opium that led to the First Opium War (1839-1842) between Great Britain and Qing dynasty China. Chinese authorities had banned opium, but the United Kingdom forced China to allow British merchants to trade opium. Trading in opium was lucrative, and smoking opium had become common in the 19th century, so British merchants increased trade with the Chinese. As a result of this illegal trade, by 1838 the number of Chinese opium addicts had grown to between four and twelve million. The Second Opium War broke out in 1856, with the British joined this time by the French. After two opium wars, the British Crown, via the treaties of Nanking and Tianjin, took large sums of money from the Chinese government through this illegal trade, which were referred to as “reparations”. in 1868, as a result of the increased use of opium, the UK restricted the sale of opium in Britain by implementing the 1868 Pharmacy Act. In the United States, control of opium was a state responsibility until the introduction of the Harrison Act in 1914, following the passing of the International Opium Convention in 1912. Between 1920 and 1933, alcohol was banned in the......

Words: 1220 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Anti-Drug Campaign and the First Opium War

...Anti-Drug Campaign and the First Opium War In 1930, Chinese officials began to have growing concerns about the increasing trade of opium with the British. China’s social and economic status started to decline due to the opium trade agreement. Chinese addiction to opium became overwhelming and eventually forced China to launch Lin Zexu’s Anti-Drug Campaign in 1839. As a result, this campaign was viewed as a violation of the trade agreement with Britain and helped led to the First Opium War. China isolated themselves from the western world, believing they didn’t need anything from foreign trade. For eight decades, the only port that China opened was called the Canton System. The problem was China only wanted silver in exchange for their exports to Europe. Unfortunately, Europe only traded in gold and silver was hard to come by. Desperate to resolve the foreign trade, Britain realized they can acquire such a commodity in opium from India to exchange for exports in China. The trade of India’s opium started as a medical drug in the early 1800’s between China and Britain. Eventually, it triggered massive dependences throughout China’s society that affected the rich and poor equally. Before long, the demand for the drug was overwhelming, resulting in China importing more opium than exporting trades. Thus, resulting in an imbalanced foreign trade and stability of China’s society. A decree issued in 1810 from the Chinese Emperor stating, “Opium is a poison, undermining our good...

Words: 1788 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Opium in China

...Name Professor Subject Date OPIUM: CHINA’S HISTORICAL CURSE One Opium is a very crucial drug in the medicine field, and it is widely used in many health facilities and hospitals across the globe. The early uses of opium were applied by natives. They used the drug as a sedative, muscle relaxant, and to help reduce congestion. It was also used to heal toothaches and all types of coughs. The modern use of opium has led to the formation of very strong narcotic painkillers. Opium is mainly associated with Morphine and Oxycodone, which are very strong narcotics. Opium is used in the modern age to treat diseases like spasms or diarrhea, although it is not commonly used (Bioweb.uwlax.edu). Opium use for medicinal purposes may have adverse effects on some people. People who have seizure disorders, lung, liver, and heart or kidney problems should inform the doctors about it before opium is administered to them. Opium has many side effects like nausea, constipation, drowsiness or itching. Some of these side effects are short-term while others are long lasting. Opium use overdose can cause anxiety, chills, coma, constricted pupils, depression or usual weakness. It is a very addictive drug, making it very important for proper monitoring of its use (Lovell, 5). Two Opium in China was not first introduced by the British. Opium was first introduced in China by both the Turkish and the Arab traders in the early 7th Century. The British......

Words: 931 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Social Media: the New Opium of People


...Bahar Arapkirli Writing Sample SOCIAL MEDIA: THE NEW OPIUM OF PEOPLE
 Thanks to the conceptual compositions of two different, Marxist explanation of class struggles and Freudian perspective on authoritative behavior, the critical approach on media and communication have been a growing aspect of our daily life since the second war era in which rulers used the mass propaganda by using media as an ideological state apparatus especially on increasing power of Hitler’s Germany. Today, we live in a world in which this critical approach is the very canon of decreasing the exploitation of ruler class who spend huge amount of money only for media and communication. (Peter and Simmonson 2004)
 From the perspective of working class, the picture seems more colorful than fifteen years ago if we consider this criticism of media and its trustworthiness by the effects of social media and blogging. One may clearly say that “Now we have our own instruments to clarify the fact and enjoy publishing our own opinion.” and even I can nod my head and ignore the “dark side of the moon”1 presented by Karl Marx on the topic of exploitation, however, in this essay, I’m going to follow my ideological ancestors and say “matter a fact, it’s all dark”2 as a rejection to this very uprising idea that alternative media makes us less exploited by ruler class of Turkey because our own counter-hegemony attitudes on social media tricks us into a brand new hegemony, the hegemony that......

Words: 2061 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Opium

...Opium has been around for over 5,500 years. The Sumerians in the Near East used to call this plant "Hul Gil" or joy plant, apparently referring to its pharmacological properties of bringing about a chemically induced state of euphoria. Over the millennium, the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) made its way towards the East. In the 1800's India, under British colonial rule was a major producer of opium. Opium trade, during that period was not illegal. Britain, through the East India Company had the monopoly in opium trade. n the late 1920's, Thailand was importing most of the opium in required. Back then, opium smoking was tolerated much like tobacco smoking is tolerated today. In the early 1930's, a British adviser to Thailand's Ministry of Finance developed a plan for the legal production of opium by hill tribe people in the provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The aim then was to by-pass having to purchase expensive opium from India. It is no wonder that Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces produced a large amount of opium. At present, tourists still think that Thailand produces prodigious amounts of the stuff. Since Thailand banned opium in the year 1959, hill tribe people were given a chance to replace their crops with other high-value crops such as cut flowers and sub-tropical fruits. The current area planted to opium in Thailand is but a mere fraction of what it used to be in the past. Most of the opium and heroin that is apprehended in...

Words: 387 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Opium War

...Opium War There were two Opium Wars. The first one was from 1839-1842. This war was fought between China and Britain. This war was fought over the two not seeing eye to eye on a lot of things. The second Opium War was from 1856-1860. In this war the British forces fought toward the legalization of the Opium trade. The reason they did this was to be able to expand coolie trace, to be able to open all of China to British merchants, and also to be able to expand foreign imports from internat transit duties. This was when France then joined the British. In this essay we are going to cover both of the Opium Wars. The expansion of European imperialism in Asia was all economic. In the British market there was a high demand for Chinese tea, also Chinese silk, and also Chinese porcelain. But, Britain did not have the right amount of silver to be able to trade with the Qing Empire. So, a system of barter and trade was put into effect, which was based on the Indian Opium which was created to help bridge the payment problems that Britain was having. Because of the “the subsequent exponential increase of opium in China brought about a generation of addicts and social instability.” (He, T.). This caused the British merchants and the Qing government to clash, which led to the Opium Wars. So as a “result, the British were given the island of Hong Kong and trading rights in the ports of Canton and Shanghai.” (He, T.). The first Opium War was over their conflicting views and points of......

Words: 769 - Pages: 4