From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Siva Chander)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban, alt.memetics, soc.culture.indian
Subject: "Blue Star" Meme spreads to India
Date: 21 Sep 1996 05:18:09 GMT
Here's another one for the Meme Theorists specializing in the "Blue Star" UL (Urban Legend). This one proceeds along classical lines, with the characteristic warning at the end. It may be considered for inclusion in the FAQ (Is there a Blue Star FAQ??).
The Indian Express
Friday, September 20 1996
Drug scare in city schools
MUMBAI, September 19: School authorities across the city are alarmed over reports of a new type of narcotic substance making the rounds outside school premises. Many, in fact, have recently issued notices to students and parents warning them against buying popular stickers like Superman which, the authorities fear, may be laced with the drug.
The most vulnerable to the fear psychosis seem to be the well-heeled ones. Bombay Scottish at Mahim, Jamnabai Narsee at Juhu, Maneckjee Cooper in Juhu, Poddar Blossom at Santacruz, among others, have issued notices to their students warning them against picking up the stickers and tattoos outside the schools. The concerned principals told this reporter that they resorted to issuing the alarming notice following a spate of complaints from parents.
Interestingly, the fear seems to have been set off following an article in Femina, which spoke about the new kind of drug, Blue Star, which is sweeping across campuses in the United States. In fact, the notices issued by most schools have quoted verbatim from the Femina article. The editor of the magazine, Sathya Saran, however defended the article saying that if the drug was already popular in the world, ``all it would take to reach India and Mumbai is a single flight. These things don't take time to spread, and parents would get to know that the child is hooked on to it only after a medical examination, which would be much later.''
V R Mishra, principal of King George school at Dadar, said he had heard of such a drug being used in the Mazgaon area. ``It is very much possible and I am sure something is going on,'' he cautioned.
Schools have also tightened security arrangements following the scare. The supervisor of St Xavier primary school, Lobo, said they have started accompanying the children to the gates, and keep a watch over them while they buy the usual confectioneries from nearby shops.
Fr Adolf, a teacher at Dominic Savio school, Andheri east, said they got to know of the scare only yesterday. ``Following this we have tightened security outside the school, and have also requested parents not to give their children money to spend during school hours,'' he explained.
Explaining what drove them to issue the circular, L Munjal, principal of Jamnabai Narsee school, said they were divided over the issue. ``We felt that if we issued the circular, students may become curious to find out what this drug was about. On the other hand, if we did not, they may still pick the stuff up out of ignorance. Finally, we decided that issuing the circular was the better option.''
The fear seems to be widespread despite the police narcotics cell's clarification that there was not an iota of truth in the reports about Blue Star being available in the metropolis.
The school circular
Express Newsline reproduces the notice issued to students by one of the city schools:
``Watch out for signs of Blue Star, a new drug doing the rounds, and targeted at school children; a small piece of paper the size of a pencil eraser with a blue star soaked in LSD, the drug is absorbed through the skin simply by handling the paper. Blue Star is deadly, and the drug is also distributed in the form of brightly coloured paper, tattoos, resembling postage stamps with pictures of Superman, Mickey Mouse, Disney characters, Bart Simpson, clowns and butterflies.
``Tell your children not to handle such stars of tattoos. They work fast and some are laced with strychnine. And spread the word -- lives have already been lost.''