Friday, June 14, 2019

And so cocaine started to be sold almost everywhere

Once upon a time in Goa parties were held on the beach. The local people and the freaks lived in harmony then, and no one got in another one's way. The freaks bought seafood from the fishermen and fruit and vegetables from the locals. Everyone was happy. Hippies and freaks sunbathed naked on the deserted beaches, danced at the parties, smoked, and spent the money selling charas [handmade hashish found in India] to the locals. Thriving quickly, the local population pulled down their primitive huts and built beautiful two and three-story houses in their place. The strange, hairy white people were pleased to pay a lot of money to rent these houses, making it possible not to fish or grow rice.

No one other than hippies wanted to visit wild and undeveloped Goa. All of progressive humanity preferred comfortable hotels and beaches with no cows or pigs on them. In Goan villages, there were neither cars, nor paved roads. There was nothing. The hippies helped the locals to open small restaurants, explaining why you need spoons and forks. They showed them how to cook and taught them minimum sanitary requirements. And the local people happily joined in dancing to the drums played by the white people at night. And just like thousands of years ago, the Indians danced happily in the Full Moon, thanking the Indian Gods for the good harvest and the happy life that the foreigners bought them.

And so it would have gone on if the Catholic Church hadn't come out against the satanic dancing. Since the time of Portugese rule, Catholic churches have been built throughout Goa. Even before the arrival of the hippies, the locals started forgetting their Indian traditions and gods due to the influence of the Portugese. Priests from Catholic churches preached the right way of life: a decent Indian had to work tirelessly all his life, producing more meat and fish, collecting more rice and bananas, building new homes, and acquiring all the modern benefits of civilization. While all the time, of course, paying a tithe to the church in order to go to heaven after death. However, the philosophy of the hairy, happy visitors went against the philosophy of the Catholics. The younger generation of Indians preferred to enjoy life and be content with what nature and the white people gave them, and not to spend their spare time slaving away for a new refrigerator or an iron, which they didn't need in the first place. Then Catholicism started a crusade against the evil influence of the happy, satisfied hippies.

In the mid '90s, a political party supported by the Catholics came to power and the Minister of Tourism announced that Goa didn't need hippies and freaks any longer. "We need money for Goa, we need really wealthy tourists who come for two weeks, not have-nots who cannot even buy a cup of tea," he declared on television and the newspapers. From that time began a crackdown on parties. First, they banned them on the beach, claiming that the loud music disturbed the sleep of workers. Soon after, parties were also banned in the jungle and remote locations. From the turn of the century all parties are illegal in Goa. The organizers pay the police huge bribes, which can only be compensated through the sale of cocaine. And so coke started to be sold everywhere.
That extract comes from Vasily Karavaev's self-published Confessions of the Psychedelic Oyster. Quintessence was a British psychedelic rock band that flourished briefly at the end of the 1960s. Australian-born Raja Ram, who studied flute at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, was a founder member of the band. Through his Tip Records label he pioneered the psychedelic trance music that was central to the Goan party scene.

Those who feel Vasily Karavaev's treatment of the Catholic Church is simplistic and harsh are referred to the history of the Goan Inquisition. That reign of terror only ceased in 1812; which is also a reminder that when it comes to humanitarian outrages, Muslim extremists are not the only game in town. No faith tradition has a monopoly on the unthinkable; as Krishnamurti told us: "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders".

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