Last week in India, near the city of Pune, police arrested 271 at a rave at a rural farmhouse. Seven people accused of organising the party and various drugs offences were remanded in custody at Yervada jail. They face charges under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
The arrested party goers have garnered some sympathy. In a leader, the Times of India (7 March 2006) noted that 'The list of seizures from the Pune rave party doesn't look particularly incriminating — beer cans, marijuana, cigarettes, music systems, motorbikes, mobile phones and the like', particulary as at this time of year the majority of the population of north India 'was having a party where controlled substances were dispensed'. The latter is a reference to the spring festival of Holi when many partake of a drink containing bhang (derived from the cannabis plant)). The article concludes 'we don't really need a replica of Taliban's moral police — it's a cop-out to reduce policing to hanging out undercover at bars and parties in an attempt to safeguard public morality'.
Many Western travellers have taken part in raves in Goa, but fewer are aware that there is a growing indigenous rave scene in India. Those arrested included students, air hostesses and call centre employees, part of a new globalised workforce plugged into an international dance culture circuit. Indian press reports noted that the details of the party were posted on www.isratrance.com (an Israel-based trance party site), while amongst those arrested were 12 foriegn nationals including a German DJ, two Palestinians and an Iranian. An Irish woman party organiser called Shaina was said to be on the run. Music and dance cultures break down national and other artificial social boundaries in sometimes surprizing ways...
Photo: disconsolate party goers the morning after.