Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Charas Changed Lives Of Malana and Rashol In Himachal Pradesh

Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh
A place where women abandon homes, children schools, and with men they are churning Cannabis plants into charas (hashish) – on their palms. A small town in the obscure region of Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh Kullu district, Rashol is a home to around 1500 people and large cannabis farms. Most of the people are either traditional shepherds or herb hunters, and belong to the upper caste Hindu. Their first encounter with lower altitude people happened in early 70s when disillusioned Europeans in search of Nirvana and radicalism came to Himalayan regions and smoked some mind-altering cannabis buds.

Rashol story is an isolated hallucinated reflection of Italian Hippies in their pursuit of comfortably numb life that could be measured out with ganja (cannabis) drags rewrote the destiny of people.

Wandering Sadhu looking for Ganja
Italian were first arrived in the village in early 70s, not in Rashol but in Malana, a neighbour where Malana cream is ubiquitously expressed by all types of hash smokers. In 70s cannabis was solely used for medicinal purpose for humans and as well as goats. Even the fibres of the plant was also used to make ropes and fabric, though Himalayan sadhus were the only one who knew the potential of this plant and smoked the intoxicant power to stimulate their consciousness. Italian when settled in camps near the valley soon discovered the potential of the plant, and the first who taught villagers to rub the plant and churn it into 10 times more potent hashish or charas. The rest of Malana story is legend, now producing the most expensive and powerful charas in the world.

Life at ease with charas smoke
Cannabis farming in Malana and Rashol differs in a major way – for Malana villagers cannabis smoking is a lifestyle, but Rashol, it is a business. Malana people are the majority smokers of their own product, while in Rashol, it’s just a recreational activity. It’s not that Malana never involved in business but smoking hash is a culture there; they swear by quality, whereas Rashol relies on quantity. 

How Cannabis Farming Drives on In These Two Villages in Himachal Pradesh?

Ubiquitous children everywhere in Malana village
Cannabis farming is complete in three phases – the first phase in April when soil is dry and appropriate sun rays disperse on it. The soil is ploughed and ready in two months. In mid-September, the male plants are eliminated to avoid pollinating the female ones. This is a significant step because according to farmers, the nature of trip depends on pollination; you can high violently, experiencing nausea and tedium whereas without pollination, you can get a high of ruminated bliss, which is immaculately feminine. 

The rubbing season starts from the end of September and it’s sort of unique process among charas producing communities. In Nepal and Morocco where charas is predominately rule the drug culture, they use sieving and filtering as a preferred mode of charas harvesting.  

Finest charas are produced by women
Charas in the valley is classified according to the oil content in it. The super cream is the premium one followed by first cream, second cream, medium cream, business maal, sabjee and junglee. Rubbing season is the busiest season for villagers; men, women and children, all are busy rubbing buds and plant crystal to extract charas, though without any doubt women are the finest charas producer. Everything about hash is feminine until it reaches a chillum (smoking pipe). Women in valley do not smoke, sometimes occasionally drink local liquor. However, they can’t avoid the trip because incessant rubbing causes hash to pass into their bloodstream through skin and make them stoned. 

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  • Anonymous says:
    August 8, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Will enjoy some SuperCream this evening.

  • ranjeeta says:
    March 25, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Enjoyed thoroughly! Interesting to read. Information and entertainment at d same time.

  • VJ Sharma says:
    July 9, 2015 at 5:00 AM

    Pretty interesting information about Malana, Rashol and their philosophy of producing charas. I never knew about Rashol's strategy about quantity and the gradation of september harvest.

  • Unknown says:
    April 19, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Amazing information, S.

  • Archana says:
    May 23, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Thanks. very informative.

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