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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
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
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
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
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
Superior Superior Subordinate
Assam ......... 4 1 ..
North-Western Provinces 10 79
Punjab . 3 ."' 3 36
Cerntral Provinces .......
Madras ] 11111 67
Bombay and Sind 19 7 69
Berar, Ajmere, Coorg, and 1 12 .
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
(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
Opinions against prohibition of charas.
577. The following is an analysis of some of the most important evidence against
(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
(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
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
(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
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
(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
(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
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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