Opium Consumption and Experience in India: From the Earliest to Contemporary Times


Kour, Kawal Deep


Kawal Deep Kour holds a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. A drug abuse prevention specialist, she is currently Director of the South Asian Drugs and Addictions Research Council and a former board member of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP). She is the author of History of Intoxication: Opium in Assam, 1800-1959 and many other publications.

Opium Consumption and Experience in India offers a “cultural biography” of opium in the subcontinent. It spans the Raj and India after independence. The book examines the “social lives” of opium in India, beginning as a commodity in the sixteenth century to its social transformation and singularization in the eighteenth century, and its decline from the mid-nineteenth century to obsolescence in the twentieth century to new “paths and diversions” in our own times. The book attempts to illuminate how opium came to occupy a central place in the “cultures of consumption” and also in the socio-economic and political life of a people. How did opium become embedded in a social ethos where it not only served as a social lubricant but soon morphed into a narco-identity for the people of India. The identification of India as a land of “great opium eaters” spawned the propaganda of a “civilizing mission” that ushered in a new era of material exploitation and political domination. This had a significant impact on the development and regulation of opium and its use.

History, Social Science, Political Science, India, Public Health, Capitalism, Narcotics, Drug Abuse, South Asia, South Asian Studies, Business
Release Date: 
September 15, 2023
9781680536164 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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