The Opium Drinkers of Jodhpur, Rajasthan

 (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

Ramu Dev Patel has two glasses of Dodo everyday, Jodhpur

 (Published first in the DNA) April 2014.

Whenever serpentine queues form in Jodhpur’s winding by lanes its only for one reason- Doda. It’s an intoxicating opiate- and young and old endure long hours in the desert sun  waiting their turn at the counter.  Selling doda- a derivative of opium- are government authorized shops dotted all over Jodhpur and much of Rajasthan.

“I cannot get up the day I don’t have Doda”, says Ramu Dev Patel, a 61 year old who has been consuming it since over four years.  He buys his quota of 250 grams each week for 180 rupees.  Hardcore addicts like him have a special prescription from doctors but the men at the government shops seldom look at the papers. Anyone can join the queue and get a packet.

Doda is the last derivative of the  opium plant. Its   bits of straw and dust and this is what they  sell at the government shops. It’s less pure and therefore less lethal than  pure opium but just as addictive. The addicts ground the dry straw to powder. They mix it with water and filter it through a piece of cloth several times. The tea-colored liquid, which  is odorless and tasteless, is then drunk by the glassfuls.

 (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

Doda addicts buying the opiate at the government run Doda Shop, Jodhpur

“It’s a hallucinatory drug and it affects the nervous system, the liver and the mind”, says Doctor Manish Bhargava who treats drug addicts in a hospital in Jaipur Rajasthan.

The government shops are ostensibly there to regulate the sale of doda to the addicts . This way the addicts get a limited quota  (250 grams  a week) and the drug dealers are sidestepped. “Without these shops we will all die”, says Ramu Dev.

However in  rural Rajasthan, especially Jodhpur district, opium  is traditionally   offered to guests to this day. It is part of  the culture and at many social functions including marriages, it is consumed as a recreational drug.

However  doda is consumed primarily by the labour class to boost productivity. It is also mistakenly taken with a hope to boost ones sexual prowess.

 (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

The doda straw is first ground to powder…


The powder is mixed with water and filtered though a piece of cloth several times. The liquid that remains is Doda. (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

The powder is mixed with water and filtered though a piece of cloth several times. The liquid that remains is Doda. 


One Response to “The Opium Drinkers of Jodhpur, Rajasthan”

  1. sanjay austa says:

    Hey Smita… glad you like it.. appreciate your comments

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