I never had any inkling that Brinjal is so important among vegetables. My grandfather used the Bangla nomenclature ‘Begun’ to express his distaste for it, as the word means ‘without any value’. As I remember, according to him, the brinjal is not a nutritious vegetable and causes even some typical problems such as gastritis.
Brinjal was never a favourite for us in the family but for some specific preparation. With Litti-chokha getting media attention with Bihar’s social entrepreneur Irfan Khan’s intention to take it to US to present it to Obama as a gift from Bihar, his state of origin, I can only say that baked brinjal messed with baked potatoes is part of typical chokha. People in Bengal like fried ‘beguni’ and offer as the first course in most of the parties. I have seen brinjal pieces in sambhar in south. Brinjal is certainly not one of the most popular among large lot of vegetables getting produced in India. Brinjal has been one of the cheapest vegetables in market.
But Bt Brinjal has suddenly taken the headlines in media for days. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had to tour almost all the main metros in the country and did face also huge protests and even the heckle from the producers of brinjal before he finally said no to the commercial cultivation of Bt Brinjal in India.
I only pity Jairam for putting so much of energy, resources and focus on Bt brinjal. Ramesh being an IITian as usual has gone into the depth of the issue and put the opinions from scientists NGOs and politicians on the website of his ministry that runs into thousands of pages. It will be a good research material for anyone interested in the subject.
Were the protests engineered by vested interest or was it a show of the strength of the common people against the entry of foreign multinational in Indian agriculture?
I have been writing about the productivity of agriculture produces in India that in many cases far behind the bests in the world. I wish the scientists focus on those crops such as paddy, wheat, sugarcanes, pulses, soybeans, oilseeds and many other items rather than wasting their energy and resources on brinjal.
Irfan Alam, also known as Mr. Rickshaw, the 35-year-old IIM Ahmedabad graduate from Bihar, has redesigned and smartened up rickshaws and helped boost the pullers’ earnings and dignity. Irfan is one of 79 “unique” entrepreneurs from across the world invited by Obama to an April 26-27 “entrepreneurship meet. As reported, US ambassador is meeting him in Patna on Friday. Interestingly, the ambassador plied a ricksha on the street of Patna with his wife sitting on it.
Being a fan of ‘Litii-chokha’, I still think that the preparation requires certain innovations to be made acceptable worldwide and presentable to the president of India. Now, fortunately after a gap of many years, we have Harendra with us who can take all the troubles that go in preparing Litti-chokha that is best done in an earthen oven with sun-dried cow dung as fuel. I am of opinion that my own home district is the best for this cuisine, though I may be wrong with not much knowledge about the other areas. Anyone wishing to learn the recipe can contact Yamuna on 0120-4358743.
The credit of this entry must go to Mukhiyaji who initiated it on facebook.