Marijuana (Charas) its Empire in IndiaCharas
). The plant grows wild throughout Nepal, Northern India, Pakistan andtheHimalayas (its putative origin) and is an important cash crop for the local people.
Charas plays an important and often integral role in the culture and ritual of certain sects of
the Hindu religion,especially among the Shaivs
the sub-division of Hinduism holding Lord Shiva is the
and it is venerated by some as being one of the aspects of Lord Shiva.Despite this long history, charas was made illegal in India under United States pressure in the 1980s and
severe sentences were introduced. Even the mer epossession had a mandatory ten year prison sentence.
These laws have now been somewhat relaxed; however, charas has remained a popular medium for
police to extort money from consumers of the drug.
Even at the peak of the crackdown, charas was still popular and remains so today, especially amongstIndian sadhus.The Naga Sadhus, Aghoris andTantric Bhairav sects smoke it freely as an integral part of
their religious practice. Many smoke it in clay pipes called chillums,using a cotton cloth to cover the
smoking end of the chillum and inserting a tightly packed pebble-sized ball of cannabis as filter under thechunk of charas. Before lighting the chillum they will chant the many names of Shiva in veneration.
However it is fast regaining the popularity it once enjoyed with younger generation of India regarding it asa recreational drug of choice. Its freely available in several places around India specially where there is astrong affluence of tourists(Goa,Delhi, Rishikesh, Varanasi,etc.). Although charas can be found in
several places around India, its manufacturing can be traced only to specific locations in India suchas, Parvati Valley, (Kasol, Rashol, Malana ("Malana cream"), Kashmir as well as several other places in
the northern India. In southern India there are also several places where charas is manufactured.Charas can be found in many places around India simply because there are people that take charas fromthe "source" to distribute it in areas where there is a substantial demand of it (usually areas with a lot of foreigners). The nominal price of charas in these areas is substantially higher than in the places wherecharas is made.
Production of Marijuana in North IndiaHigh quality hashish in India comes from cannabis grown in the mountains. The variety fromHimachal Pradesh is considered to be of the highest quality throughout India. It is easilyavailable in Shimla, Naldera, Karsog, Narkanda, Kullu & Rampur
practically every area inHimachal Pradesh. For this reason, the Indian subcontinent has become very popular withbackpackers and drug smugglers.
During hand-harvesting the resin sticks to one's palms and by the end of the day one has perhaps8 or 9 grams of charas. The faster one works, the lower the quality of charas; hence to make"Manali cream" it is necessary to go very slowly and make only a few grams a day. Nowadaysproduction of cannabis in the Himalayas has increased with growing demand for Malana cream;