Much ado about 'khichdi'

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Last Updated 03 November 2017, 15:35 IST

It was just another day in the Twitter and Facebook world, when posts appeared about ‘khichdi’ being announced as the national dish of the country.

Phones started ringing and social media started buzzing with comments after the dish was announced as a record entry for the ‘World Food India’ event that is going on in the capital.

While some took the ‘news’ in all seriousness, others handled it in a lighter vein. Though the Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, later clarified that it was a bid to make it a ‘Brand India food’ globally, food lovers continued to post interesting one-liners and opinions online.

Suraj Prasad, a customer service engineer, says that it is interesting how a simple dish like the ‘khichdi’, which has always been prepared in our households, is being glorified.

“From the everlasting presence that ‘khichdi’ had in our lives to the fact that some eat ‘khichdi’ on specific days because of religious significance, a lot of these views are out in the limelight now,” he says.

For some like Urmila Chanam, a social activist, such a buzz goes beyond culinary preferences.

“Such a move would be a very wise positioning of the culture that we all grew up in. A conscious effort to retain our culture would be a good move,” she says.

Having travelled across the country from childhood, Urmila has tasted ‘khichdi’ in different formats from different communities.

“While the flavours and the way of preparation might be varied. In Manipur, our ‘khichdi’ is more spicier compared to the liquid version of the South. Such a positioning for the dish would communicate the strong message that ‘we are one’,” she adds.

There are others like Suman Kumar, an author and comedian, who feel that ‘khichdi’ will meet the same fate that other ‘national’ things have in the past.

“The national animal is endangered and nobody cares about the national sport. I think that ‘khichdi’ will also slide into obscurity after it has been added to the list,” he says.

“Having said that, I feel the national food should be ‘upma’ and for those who don’t like it, definitely ‘dosa’. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, everyone loves ‘dosa’. I’ve lived in Madhya Pradesh and I know a guy who was in the textile business, who started a ‘dosa’ cart and struck gold. There is so much in the culinary world, why is
‘biryani’ not a national food?” he says.

He also questions the need for such debates,
in times when malnutrition deaths are still a

On a lighter note, stand-up comedian Punya Arora feels that online conversations are very entertaining and a great break from the mundane life.

“In June, it was the ‘upma’ and now here we are with the ‘khichdi’. As long as the concept of ‘khichdi’ means mixed rice and includes ‘biryani’, I’m alright
with it,” she says.

Punya adds that “in a nation where people pick their food like they pick their politics”, everything seems apt!

Well, hello ‘khichdi’, enjoy your five minutes of fame while it lasts.

(Published 03 November 2017, 15:35 IST)

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