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Himachal’s researcher proves traditional Mandiyali dham a satvik & complete food, contains all 6 rasa defined in Ayurveda

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dr. om sharma

SHIMLA– Delicious Mandiyali dham – a traditional feast of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh has been assessed by a Himachal researcher as a complete food from Ayurvedic perspective. A team headed by Dr. Om Sharam at the Regional Ayurveda Research Institute for Nutritional Disorders, Mandi spent about six years to study Mandiyali dham. Dr.Sharma, who is also Assistant Director-cum-in charge at the institute, assessed everything from methods of cooking, nutritional values, medical properties of ingredients, serving style, season, geographical and climatic characteristics to Ayurvedic benefits.  He also published a research article in the February edition of the International Journal of Advance Research under title “Dham (Traditional Feast of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh) a Complete Food with Ayurveda Perspective.”

Dr.Sharma, a native of Banrotu, Mandi, said he will file a patent for the dham in order to preserve its importance in times when traditional values are vanishing into urbanization. The patent of Himachal’s traditional dham will include every step followed from preparation, exact quantity used to properties of each individual ingredient.

Regional Ayurveda Research Institute for Nutritional Disorders

Recently, Dr. Sharma, was joined by a botanist, Deepshika Arya, and four research officers, namely Vineeta Negi (Kinnaur), Vikas Nariyal (Kangra), Prashant Shinde (Maharashtra),Deepshika Arya (Haldwani), and Sumeet Goel( Haldwani). 

What Makes Mandi Dham a Complete Food?

Other than carefully going through the research article, Himachal Watcher talked to Dr. Sharma to know more about their motivation behind carrying out this extensive study to establish correlation between ancient knowledge of Ayurveda and tradition of dham.

He told HW that while onion and garlic are central to contemporary food, Mandi’s dham doesn’t use either of them, at all. That makes the dham a ‘satvik bhojan’.

Botis-cooking-Dham

Dr. explained that Ahar (food) holds an immense importance in Ayurveda.

As per Ayurveda, a good diet consist of six rasa when taken in a proper sequence starting from Madhura (food sweet), followed by Amla, Lavana, Katu, Tiktaand Kashaya. As per the study, traditional dham of Mandi is an example of food with all six rasa or complete food (shadrasaahara) when served in sequence.

As per the study, diet in Mandi dham also considers influences of Mana (psychological factors) on digestion. As per Ayurveda, negative emotions can influence digestion of food. An individual afflicted with grief, fear, anger, sorrow, excessive sleep and vigil would not be able to digest even a complete diet properly. That is why the dham is served on festive occasions where people gather, sit on ground, and eat in uniform plates made of leaves.

Sequence of Serving

Mandiyali meetha
The food is served in bio-degradable plates made from leaves. The starters begins with madhur rasa (sweet dish), Boondi ka Meeta (chickpera floor dipped in sweet syrup along with dry fruits).

Sepu Badi Mandi Dham

Sepu Badi, prepared from fresh spinach leaves and badi, comes next. In this dish badi is made from Masha (black lentil) and Chana (Bengal gram) that are deep fried with the gravy of coriander and spinach leaves. It provides a Madhura-Amla rasa (Sweet-Sour).

kaddu ka khatta

Sepu Badi is followed by Kadu ka Khatta that makes Amla-lavana Rasa (sour-salty). The dish is prepared from pumpkin and taste like a blend of sweet and sour.

Kol ka Khata (makushtabheda-Vigna aconitifolia) that is prepared from pulse called kol follows khatta. It’s sour and brings a grimace on face.

himachali-Mandyali-Dham-maa-ki-dal

Photo: Koyna Singh.Blogspot

After Khatta comes Mah ki Daal (black tentrils). It is prepared with Fennel seeds, two three bay leaves, green Cardamoms, Black Cardamoms, small stick of Cinnamon, Clovers, Coriander seeds, Bay leaves, Curd, Spinach, pinch of Asafetida, red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. The dish makes tiktapradran (bitter dominant) dish.

jholJhol comes last in this sequence. It is prepared from curd and water in mud pot. Jhol is believed to help in digestion of food that is taken in dham. As per Ayurveda, itsrukhsaguna also help in cleansing of esophagus and gut from Ghrita rich food. 

Eaten With only Hands

People eat with hands in traditional dham. A person eating with his hands knows the exact temperature of food before the morsel hits his mouth. It prevents blisters in mouth due to consumption of hot food, says the research article.

Medicinal Benefits
The dham is believed to be useful in throat problems, blood disorders, bronchitis, skin disease and liver or gall bladder related problems. Other than that, the diet boosts blood enrichment, help in treatment of ear infections and liver and spleen disorders. The diet also offers vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, folate and the Vitamin A precursor, β-carotene. Pumpkin contains potassium that is good for heart.

Natural Preservation

Traditional Himachal dham
People use natural methods for preservation of main food including rice by drying in sun. Instead of chemical preservatives like sodium benzoate, people use rai as natural preservative. To preserve the pulses, people rub them with mustard oil. It protects them from pests and fungus. Smoke of red chilli is used to treat the vessels in which the pulses are stored.

Favorable Season

Winters are considered favorable season for serving dham as it is believed that digestive powers are higher during this time due to low temperatures. 

Social Equality

Mandiyali Dham Patent

Unlike modern methods of serving food and eating at marriages, all people sit on ground and eat in one type of plate. It promotes message of equality and uniformity in the society, said the research article.

Eco-friendly and employment to traditional plate (pattal) makers

plate made of leaves

Dr. Sharma told Himachal Watcher that the traditional alternative to plastic plates used in dham is clean Taur –bauhinia vahli leaves. The leaves posses anti-microbial effect and antioxidant properties. Moreover, the leaves are 100 percent bio-degradable so no waste left behind.

Dr. Sharma and his team claims that the ingredients of traditional dham are not chosen haphazardly. Rather, its a proof that Himachal’s culture is also rich in terms of ancient wisdom. He stressed upon the need of conservation of this traditional feast as well as other traditions that are unique to pahari culture. He wants the dham to gain popularity so the people may understand the importance of traditional food, and the method of traditional preservation. He said he will continue to work on the research and will refine it. 

He also expressed concern over adulteration of original tradition as some new dishes or ingredients are being included into dham by new generation. Changes or additions would prove detrimental to the benefits which traditionally made and served dham provides. 

As popularly said in Ayurveda,

If one eats pathya(Proper food) then there is no need of medicine and if one don‟t eat pathya(takes improper diet) still there will be no need of medicine.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Art & Culture

Book Review: ‘The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age’ by James Crabtree

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The Billionaire Raj A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age

For long, we all have broached the subject of India’s experiment with socialism. The state-controlled the various fields of business, planning was central; also the means of production were not with capitalists but with the state. The state promised to uplift the poor form the poverty, raise their living standard by utilization of these means of production to bring economic and social equality in society.

But years after embracing socialism growth was still sluggish, corruption percolating deep into the system, choices with the people were far and few. Inequality was, as ever, still prevalent in the society. Amenities like telephone and exuded power and exclusivity. The world mocked our “License Raj” and we became notorious for our Hindu Growth rate.

Eventually, the closed economy turned sclerotic and ran into trouble. On the contrary, economies worldwide grew rapidly, at this time. India was left with no other option, but to open its economy to the world. Finally, India yielded and opened its economy in 1991, with an hope of removing the ills of corruption, creating more jobs, removing social inequality and to overcome challenges of economic development. The new era of neo-liberalization was considered augury of prosperity and egalitarian society.

However, who would have imagined that within 27 years of opening up the economy, the majority of the wealth would be held by a handful of people. James Crabtree in his debut book, “The Billionaire Raj: A Journey through India’s New Gilded Age, offers an overview of this fascinating journey of India’s new Gilded Age.”

He writes,

Yet the decades after 1947, it at least grew economically more equal, with an elite that lived modestly by the standard of the industrialized West.

A silver lining to India’s bygone era of socialism.

The Billionaire Raj is the narrative of the breakneck rise of the Indian riches- Bollygarchs, as he calls them- corporate power, their lifestyle and the mansions.

The book is an overview of the concomitant of wealth: inequality, crony capitalism, massive corruption and mega scams. The writer explores the exorbitant funding of political parties by these tycoons, the costly affair of India’s election.

The book talks at length about the deep-rooted problem of mounting debt, IPL, about Modi and his tenure as Prime Minister of India. The pro and cons of various reforms ushered under his regime. Mr. Crabtree is successful in raising the fundamental question that holds imperative to India’s future.

The book is well researched, the exceptional storytelling skill of the writer keeps the readers engrossed; the personal interview with various business tycoons like Vijay Mallya, Naveen Jindal, Gautam Adani etc, offer the readers classic vignettes of their life, their perspective about the event that unfolded in this age.

The writer has successfully flagged various fissures as a warning that can pull India down. The country will have to fix these fissures first, only then it can fulfil the ambition to lead Asia.

Today India stands at the crossroads of what sort of superpower it will become

, he further writes.

Mr. Crabtree offers an optimistic view about India’s future:

India’s new Gilded Age can blossom into a progressive Era of its own, in which the perils of inequality and crony capitalism are left decisively behind,

he writes.

The Billionaire Raj will make us ruminate about the era of Neo-liberalization, as we did aggressively about Indian Socialism in the past. The Billionaire Raj is an eye-opener for all of us and will certainly be helpful in paving the way for our future ahead. The book is Locus classicus on the contemporary history of India- a must read for every Indian.

About James Crabtree

James Crabtree, a former Mumbai bureau chief for The Financial Times. He spent 5 years in India before moving to Singapore. At present, he is an Associate Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.

Book Review by Sunny Grack, Kotgarh, Shimla

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Art & Culture

HIMCOSTE’s workshop to aware rural artisans of Geographical Indications Act

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HIMCOSTE WOrkshop on Geographical Indications

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Patent Information Centre (HPPIC) established under the aegis of Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE) has been declared as the nodal agency for the filing of Geographical Indications applications for traditional valuable products of H.P under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, IFS Kunal Satyarthi Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE, today informed.

He said till date, the Centre has been able to obtain registration for Kullu shawl, Kangra Tea, Kinnauri Shawl, Chamba Ruma and Kangra Paintings under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The applications of Chamba Chappal, Kala Zeera, Chulli Oil are under process with the Registrar of Geographical indications at Chennai
.
The Centre has identified a number of products (agriculture/horticulture/handicrafts/metal crafts etc.) for registration under GI Act, 1999 (for eg. Bharmour Rajmah, Chamba Chappal, Chamba metal crafts, Angoori, Kalpa Wine, Kinnauri Apple, Rajmah).

Also, the Centre has facilitated registration of about 200 Authorized Users (AU) of registered GIs from H.P.

Recently, the State Govt.has issued a notification on State Level committee on Registration and Protection of Goods in H.P and the State Govt. has also issued a notification regulation of Kullu Shawl GI under the Chairmanship of D.C Kullu.

The above committees would perform the task of checking falsification /counterfeiting of Registered GIs in H.P and would approach the appropriate authorities for taking necessary action in the matter.

HIMCOSTE’s One-Day GI Awareness Workshop

On August 3, 2018, one-day awareness workshop on Geographical Indication, “Creating Value through Geographical indication” will be organized by HIMCOSTE in collaboration with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, GoI.

Through this workshop, the HIMCOSTE aims to spread awareness and make the participants aware of the Geographical Indications Act. It would result in providing commercial opportunities to rural artisans of District Kullu, which in turn would result in the socio-economic development of rural artisans. During the workshop, applicants would be asked for registration of Authorised Usership of Kullu Shawl under Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) of Goods Act, 1999.

After the workshop, D.C Kullu would chair a meeting of the committee constituted by Govt. of Himachal Pradesh. Issues related to infringement of Kullu Shawl and regulation of Kullu Shawl GI would be discussed in the meeting. About 200 participants would attend the workshop.

The Chief Guest for the workshop will be Minister of Forests, H.P Govind Singh Thakur. Yunus Khan, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, IPS Shalini Agnihotri, Superintendent of Police, Kullu and will be the Guest of Honour.

On behalf of HIMCOSTE, Sh. Kunal Satyarthi, IFS, Member Secretary, HIMCOSTE will remain present during the workshop.

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Incentives to Himachali films under State’s own Film Policy: Govt

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Film policy of Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government today announced that it would form its own film-policy and will encourage local films and artists in various ways.

A meeting regarding formulating the film policy of the State was held here today under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary Dr. Shrikant Baldi.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Baldi said the state had the advantage of adventurous, heritage, spiritual, seasonal and unexplored destinations and the efforts would be made to attract the filmmakers for film production in the state.

He said that the cultural, mythological, historical heritage and glorious traditions of the state would also be publicized in a big way to attract investment in the film sector in the state.

The government would endeavour to provide an opportunity to the talents in the field of acting and other related fields besides generating employment opportunities to the youth of the state.

Dr. Baldi said that production of regional films based on Himachali dialects would be especially encouraged, for which the government would provide various incentives to the producers.

Various other important issues like establishing required infrastructure and to make available desired facilities to the filmmakers and providing them attractive financial incentives were also discussed in the meeting.

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