Basanta Raj Kunwar, Chairman, Narconon Nepal
Recently Basanta Raj Kunwar was decorated with the most prestigious international award, Alexandra Nevraski Medal by Russia. Kunwar is the only person in Nepal who has received such a prestigious international decoration.
A documentary on the work of former Nepal Police SSP Kunwar was released in Hollywood in the recent past. In the documentary, Kunwar is introduced as a legend of Asia who has devoted his life to fight against drugs in this entire continent.
Senior Nepal Police officer Kunwar’s potentiality was not recognized by his organisation. This is why Kunwar was compelled to retire from the Police job in 2007. The then Home Minister Krisna Prasad Sitaula and IGP Om Bikram Rana were the main conspirator to snatch Kunwar’s job in a very young age.
After retirement, Kunwar started massive drug education program in schools and colleges to protect the youths of Nepal. His devotion and activities were keenly monitored by Narconon International America and later it came to support him.
Narconon International was so impressed by his works that they provided license to open highly reputed Narconon Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation Center in Nepal. Being a member of Narconon, Kunwar started working at extreme level and he became the most productive Narconon member of the world and was decorated by the Freedom Medal, America on 2013. After receiving the Freedom Medal he became one of the legends of the world working against drugs and he got the responsibility as an anti-drug educator for the entire world as a part of the Narconon International and a social worker. Narconon International assigned him to deliver lecture on abuse of drugs in many parts of the world.
After being decorated with the medal in Russia, he has just returned home. People’s Review weekly interviewed Kunwar upon his return from Russia. Excerpts are as given below:
Q. How are you feeling after receiving the prestigious decoration from Russia and America?
A. Although I was born in a very small village in Nepal, with the help and cooperation, support and blessings of many people I became able to receive these awards. What I believe is that these medals are for my country. When I was receiving the medal, along with my name the name of my country was also lauded. This is why I always wear typical Nepali dress while receiving such decorations. I am feeling very proud in general.
Q. You were compelled to retire from the Nepal Police job forcefully through a conspiracy. How do you feel now?
A. The problem of this nation is corruption and non-visionary and self-centered political leaders ruling this country. My bad luck was that Krishna Shitaula was the home minister and Om Bikram Rana was the Nepal Police IGP, both were not capable guys to command and protect the Police Force. Their entire intention was to earn money and to use the Police Force for their political benefit. I was a professional Police officer. As I could not fulfill their ill intentions, they snatched my Police uniform. It was a historical shameful work done by Sitaula and Rana. Fortunately, my morale and dignity gave me a new height after my retirement from the Police Force. These medals are the evaluation of my works. When I remember the conspirators who snatched my uniform I do not feel weak but feel more powerful and energetic.
Q. What should a former Police officer do after retirement?
A. Former policemen are the asset for the nation in every field. As the Policemen are disciplined, he can contribute enormously for the betterment of politics, diplomacy, society, culture, among others.
While serving in the Police force, they gain deep knowledge about people and socio-economic situation. In my opinion, the Police have knowledge about society, they know exactly how the work should be done and achieve the objective.
Q. How you observe the drugs problem?
In my opinion it is the No. 1 threat for the civilization of the present era. Many countries in the world are accepting it as human rights. They have legalized this issue. Some are using drugs as a means of making money for terrorism. Covertly, many nations are using the drugs as a weapon to destroy the youth of the enemy country. Drug trade is being the most profitable and huge turnover accomplishing business. Pharmaceutical companies are making huge amount of money by promoting and selling drugs. More than 300 million people are badly trapped on drugs at present time. A large number of students of school and colleges from grade 8 to 12 are excessively taking drugs as a fashion. Schools and colleges have different teacher for different subjects but they don’t have any drugs education instructor. The general people are not taking any curative action to protect their kids from the drugs and even if someone in the family is taking drugs, instead of bringing the issue out, they are hiding it. In many countries the government is not serious about this issue. Some countries are doing great in this area but 90 percent of the nations are not serious about it. By this fact I can confidently say that the world is in danger of drugs rather than a war. Millions of innocent people are going to lose their life in very young age and society is going to suffer a lot by insanity, crime, and domestic violence.
Q. What about Nepal?
A. 200 thousand people are badly trapped on drugs and if they don’t get proper treatment and rehabilitation, they could die in abnormal way. The sad thing is that besides 200 thousand drug users, at least about 280 thousand other new people have started taking drugs and 85 percent of them are student from school and college. Around 36000 females are trapped on it. Even students of medicine, aviation and engineering are on drugs in huge number. Drug was the main reason behind the Narayanhitty Bloodbath. By this fact, I can say the problem of drugs in Nepal is not horrible but is in increasing trend.
Q. What should the government do?
A. The Nepal government has not taken these problems seriously. In addition, I want to say that the government has even not considered this issue as a problem. The organizational set-up and the allocated budget for controlling the drugs from the side of the government is very nominal. In this situation we can’t believe that the government machineries could contain these problems. If government is serious, it has to do five major things. They are:
First, protect them who are not still trapped on drugs; second, identify those who are taking drugs; third, provide them drug treatment and rehabilitation services who are an addict; fourth, help them for rehabilitation and reunification who have completed the rehabilitation process; and finally, bring them under the justice who are violating these laws. It means punish those peoples who are involved in this crime.
Q. How do people become a drug user and cannot come out of it?
A. Many people have only general idea about this issue. In reality people are becoming drug addict because there are persons who are making money from it. What we have to understand is that if a person is establishing an alcohol production factory, he is doing it to earn money. If one is cultivating marijuana, opium, cocaine or producing pharmaceutical drugs they are doing such activity to earn money with specific intention. The people who are involved in this business convey such message that drugs somehow helps the person who consumes it, for it they say or do the propaganda. As if, you are sad and drugs could be the way to come out from it. If you have sleeping problem it could help you to sleep. There could be many such areas where someone has unwanted feelings, the drug dealer says that the remedy of those unwanted feelings is drugs. In my opinion, if there is increment on drugs addiction we should understand there is large number of traders involved in it.
Q. How are professionals trapped on drugs?
A. Professional people might be very efficient in their respective areas but it doesn’t mean that they have deep knowledge about drugs. For an example, alcohol destroys around 20 types of vitamins and minerals. Marijuana has 400 bad chemicals and it has THC neurotoxin. An engineer could be very efficient about making the bridge but may not have knowledge about the negative effects of marijuana. This is why they are easily trapped on drugs. If we go deeper there are five ways thru which the people are trapped on it.
The Occasional way: We can see in the society, especially in the case of alcohol, it is accepted as a social drink and people are invited to have it. Someone doesn’t offer alcohol to others to make them a drug addict but in this practice he has more opportunity to consume alcohol. These people can be converted into addicts. Such persons are around 10 percent of total drug addicts.
Second one is ‘By strategy’. ‘By Strategy’ means someone is doing these actions by planning and with purpose, usually we find the school students from grade 8-12 as the target. Among them, especially, the single child of family is more targeted. The dealer goes to the schools and colleges, make new friends, provide them with drugs, turn them into addicts, and sell the drugs. They also offer the proposal that if you could bring three more students, you can have drugs free of cost. 75 percent of the total drug users are from this category.
Ten percent of the people believe it is a medicine, the take it and cannot overcome it.
Five percent are dragged to fit in. In alcohol case we find people are addict after age of 24, and in other case after studying in grade 8 to 12.
Q. Why do people relapse?
A. When a person becomes a drug addict then there are two major factors which doesn’t allow him to come out from it. The first is chemical craving or the body and mind wants it. When a person becomes drug addict, it means he is in the stage of taking drugs and alcohol everyday. When he takes drugs, every time he will be losing vitamins and minerals from his body. This is why they will have pain, discomfort, sleep disorder and other various reactions. Such reactions are not tolerable and people want to get treated for it. When a person takes prescribed drugs in this situation, due to the central nervous system being blocked by drugs, they cannot feel the discomfort. It is not a cure, the thing is one cannot feel it due to drugs. This cycle drags him more and more towards drugs and to get rid from the discomfort, he even cannot imagine to quit it. Second, once he starts taking drugs every day, due to the lack of vitamins and minerals, he becomes unable to perform daily routine. Besides, he needs a lot of money to get drugs. He starts doing unethical works which changes into a habit. While taking drugs when central nervous system is blocked people cannot perceive and take the right decision. This disability destroys family, relation and profession. Similarly, a person cannot get drugs from civilized or a good person. He must go in the contact of a dealer, or criminals. Criminals don’t allow them to escape because they are earning a good fortune from it. Other major factor is he is doing wrong work. He wants to hide what he has done wrong. Due to that his confrontation power with the good people decreases. He loves to be with the people like himself. He will be far from the circle of good people and his behavior will be like a wild animal and doesn’t like to follow any rules or routine. He is totally in the environment of drugs and far from the civilized society where he can buy and get drugs. When a person has a physical problem then treatment could work but to change his entire behavior, which could protect him from the environment of drug, comes under rehabilitation. Here is where the people make mistake. After treatment again they go back to the same environment and get trapped again and again. This is very difficult to overcome and a sad fact.
Q. What parents should do to protect their kids from drugs?
A. As every parent is worried about their children’s education and career, I suggest them to worry how to protect them from drugs because drugs will kill them, and ther is no point education and career if the child is no more. Crown Prince Dipendra was groomed to be the head of state of Nepal but that post could not protect him. Michael Jackson was the greatest celebrity of this century but he died from drugs consumption. From these examples we can understand that career and education can only work when someone is alive or physically mentally capable to perform that duty. I have one example of a very rich man, whose son was addicted to drugs, he made a lavish office for him thinking that his son may stay there, start working and forget about drugs. He spent about 35 lakhs to make an office for his son and requested him to be at office but the second day the son was found in the security guard room unconscious. What we have to understand is that survival is the first thing after career. Many families try to contain the drug problem through career. Like, if a person has a fever and he will be given the post of president of a nation, fever will not be controlled. For fever he has to take the right medicine, the post is not going to work. Similarly, the parents need to give separate attention to make kids drug free. I suggest them to buy the books, visit Narconon, request the school for drug education and be involved in the drug prevention programs in the society. It will help them to protect their family. I suggest everyone to watch SAY NO TO DRUGS television program on Friday evening 9:30 on News 24 channel every week.
Q. What about the condition of female drug users in Nepal?
A. In my study there are 35,000 female trapped in drugs. Usually they are trapped by their boyfriends and the treatment and rehabilitation process is 500 time difficult than male. Why I am saying this is, in our society, if a man is a drug user he will be staying on his own house as a father or as a grandfather but the female has to go to others house after marriage. The place where she goes after marriage, might not accept her, because while taking drugs she is largely associated with the boys and had developed some characteristics of being so called free person. May be she could have the habit of going to disco, casino, party, smoking and drinking there etc. which will be not accepted in place where she goes after marriage. The other sad thing is, if a male is drug addict the parents are ready to take them to rehabilitation center but in the case of female they want to hide it. This is why they will have less chance to come to rehab centers. It is very difficult to change their behavior and usually what we have found is, such girls doesn’t want to be part of a family. They want freedom. This is why from my experience rehabilitation of women is very tough and challenging job which needs extreme devotion and commitment. Usually, it is observed that the female drug user’s life ends pathetically.
Q. What should be done in schools and colleges?
A. What I have found is that the schools are not taking this issue seriously. If they could allocate a teacher whose responsibility is to aware children about drugs and make them free from drugs would be the best. Besides if a school and college students are losing weights or decreasing in performance or being weak in studies, they should be immediately investigated. I would suggest schools to test urine of students after grade 8 every year, not only schools but urine should be tested for people applying for job, going abroad or getting married
Q. How someone can get help from Narconon?
A. Naronon helps anyone to protect their family and society from drugs. If a person or group is doing some activity which could prevent or aware the people from mutualizing drugs, Narconon will help them by sending experts there. We have the best rehabilitation program. As the saying goes prevention is better than cure, we prefer prevention rather than rehabilitating. When someone becomes a drug addict, it is very hard to bring them back to their normal state. Out of 200 thousand drug users, about 1000-1500 are at rehabilitation centers. More than 198000 are out of those center living in vain and giving trouble to everyone. Narconon can provide services to only 60-80 persons per year. It will not solve the problem. This is why Narconon gives high priority to protect people from drugs. We are trying to establish a drug museum for the children where they can know about the effects of drugs.
Q. You have been decorated with the prestigious award from both the super power countries, America and Russia. How do you take it?
A. I went to both countries and found the people there have great love and affection for their nation. Both the nations have feeling that they have responsibility of the world on them. We can learn many things from both the countries. For Nepal and Nepali people I have found positive attitude from both of them. They appreciated the person who works for humanity. My medal is one of the examples of that.