Rave rage hits Goa before New Year

Thursday December 29 2005 21:45 IST

Author: Newindpress.com
Date: Jan 1, 2006
Views: 11799

Thursday December 29 2005 21:45 IST

ANJUNA BEACH: It could not have been a worse end to a year of partying
for the global trance trippers, who have collected on Goa\\\'s famed Anjuna
Beach-for the first time in 25 years, the administration has come down
with its heavy hand on the revellers and banned rave parties in the
trance circuit of Anjuna-Vagator-Shapora, in north Goa.

The silence is so spooky it\\\'s almost spectral-from Disco Valley to
Hilltop, Shiva Valley to Temple Place, Bamboo Forest to Monkey Valley,
it\\\'s a dead-end zone. Hoteliers are nervous, there will be a near riot
if the thousands, from Birmingham to Mumbai, have nowhere to go, they

The lucrative cottage tourism industry in the villages of the circuit is
teetering on its feet. Ritzy revellers stare hopelessly into the
horizon. The avowed and notable reason for the rave ban being the drug
menace at rave parties, the illicit narcotics trade of recreational and
hard drugs like ecstacy, cocaine, heroin, and other substance abuse.

The police, local administration, politicians, even the church and some
sections of the media have all whipped up rave rage, with obvious
consequences of cultural policing and moral brigades stalking the
Goa is a drug haven, they cry, we have to save our children and country.
Naturally, Inspector General of Police, Ujwal Mishra, is unmoved when he
says firmly, \\\"We will not tolerate consumption of drugs. Rave parties
are the marketplace for drug dealers and users. You can smell drugs in
the air when you walk into these parties.\\\"

Officials, however, say the narcotics team has barely had any success in
cracking down on big dealers. Mishra admits his force has not made any
drug arrests at rave parties despite several raids. \\\"The police have
banned parties in a pre-emptive action against the narco trade,\\\" he
says.For the locals, who depend on the tourist trade-from the dozens of
cheap rooms rented to travellers, to cafes, bike hires, even the chai
shops run at rave parties-the loss is huge.

Says the doughty Laxmibai, a chaiwalli regular at the raves, \\\"The big
hotel patrons will get their rich clients, but what will become of us
poor people who depend on the small spender for our living? The
government has robbed usof our income now.\\\"

It\\\'s a story heard everywhere in Anjuna/Vagator-the lodger who has rooms
to spare, to the taxi driver who has his car idling in the parking
lot.In Goa, however, the debate hits an unusual spot-it was trance raves
that put Goa on the global map, by banning raves, it could hurt Goan
tourism. As Heidi Smith from London puts it, \\\"Today, Goa trance raves
are held over the world, except in Goa.\\\"

Goa Trance got its name from the music that morphed out of the
electronic dance music of the industrial artists of Europe who
influenced the party hosts, later known as DJs, of Goa. It was in the
early \\\'90s, when an exciting, unique sound emerged from the beaches of
Anjuna and Vagator, now synonymous with trance shamans like Goa Gill,
Shiva Chandra, Infected Mushroom, Etnica, Astrix. They were to set the
standards for future releases of the genre, worldwide.

Tourism Minsiter Dr Wifred D\\\'Souza is unimpressed. \\\"Who cares about
those tourists who want the rave experience. There are many tourists who
do not want it either. Anyway, we have not banned rave parties, anyone
can have a party until 10 pm,\\\" he says.

Apart from an overzealous administration, there are the conspiracy
theories that electrify local imagination: If it is not political foes
settling scores (the Congress-ruled state does not want to indulge the
BJP MLA of Anjuna/Vagator) then perhaps, the club house owners want a
monopoly by banning competitors from raves. The three well-known clubs
in the area are allowed all-night parties and have hit the jackpot this
season with overflowing night-to-dawn parties.

The vivid image of drug-induced raves are given publicity through local
newspapers. The church has also leapt in-local priests have cast the
first stone at night bazaars and parties. The protests now have an eerie
anti-outsider campaign, say hoteliers and locals.

Perhaps, the solution lies in the options given by art gallery owner and
practising psychiatrist, Subodh Kerkar: \\\"The authorities could designate
areas for rave parties and maintain strict vigilance to check drug

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