Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor says he has a dream of making Indian food the number one preferred cuisine in the world; but it’s not only a dream, he’s also working towards it.
“I’ve tried so many different types of cuisine and curated various international and local dishes. But I’d still say, nothing comes close to Indian,” he says.
IANSlife spoke to the veteran who shares his views on the journey of Indian food, nutrition, the future of the industry while suggesting useful health tips that may help during the crucial times. Excerpts:
Q: You have been very vocal about local food. Do you think in today’s time, people are moving back to local food, or are they still inclined towards international food?
A: Today’s generation is fascinated with Western food and they are unaware of what grows locally in our own land is far more nutritious. Having said that, I also see a trend of people moving back to traditional food which is great. The nutritional benefits of Indian food have always been high, and give you complete nutrition that one needs. For example, besan – it is loaded with multiple nutrients and fiber. People are realizing that traditional food can help us obtain wholesome nutrition, which in return makes us stronger from within and builds our immune system. I recommend one should include green leafy vegetables, dals, fruit, and salads in their daily meals. Look for unpolished dals as they are untouched, and their nutritional value is higher.
Q: From a tourism point of view, do you think food can play an important role in bringing tourists from across the country and world?
A: On tourism, yes, of course, it does! Food is such an integral part of tourism. Each city/region is famous for its own food and that is one major reason that adds to the experience of traveling to that place. Delhi is known for its fine selection of finger-licking street food, Mumbai for its regional cuisine, Lucknow has a variety of kababs, Hyderabad for its quintessential dish, the biryani, the list can go on!
Q: Can you shed some light on the journey of Indian food and nutrition through history?
A: There is a lot about Indian culinary heritage that people may not know. I’ve tried so many cuisines and curated various international and local dishes, but I’d still say, nothing comes close to Indian food. For instance, the Indian thali itself has sampan poshan (rich nutrition) and this is one of its most important parts of Indian food history. The diversity of Indian food is the source of my motivation, to stamp my personal identity on each dish. I must also tell you that I have a dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and I’m definitely working towards it, non-stop!
Q: You have mentioned earlier that people still prefer restaurant food as compared to home-made food in India. Why do you think it is so?
A: A traditional home-cooked Indian meal is well balanced, hearty as well as delicious for every palate. When it comes to health, you need not look beyond your kitchen shelves. People need to stop following trends and new food fads that keep coming up. When I got into this field, I saw a difference between homemade food and restaurant food. And when I dived deeper, I realized that we are deriding homemade food and giving more importance to restaurant food. We all have the knowledge about the benefits and goodness of various foods, but with time, some new fad comes in and we tend to forget the importance of the already existing ingredients and start taking it for granted.
Q: What eating habits would you suggest in today’s crucial time when we are fighting a pandemic?
A: Nutrition is a large part of health. ‘We are what we eat.’ We eat healthily, we stay healthy. One of the best things to include in your daily diet is Haldi (turmeric). Haldi has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Add a pinch of it in everything you make. You can have a glass of hot water with haldi in it, add some tulsi and ginger too. You can also take Haldi and jaggery, and make little tablets of it. Whenever you have a sore throat, have one of those tablets and you will be just fine. Also, take care of your sleep pattern as it is extremely important to boost your immunity.
Q: You have been one of the pioneers of the Indian food industry, do you think if you were not a chef, would you have been that successful?
A: Success is hyped. I believe in hustle. Whether a chef or not, I would have worked hard to achieve everything I might have dreamt of. Plus, I am one of those who could never follow, I could only lead! To be successful, all you need is the recipe for success and then it is only the right ingredients that matter!
Q: What you think about the future of the Indian food industry?
A: We are facing a situation that none of us could have foreseen! Unprepared for a storm as big as this, understandably everyone is in a state of shock as the economy has been massively hit. The foodservice and hospitality industry is drastically impacted and we all are bracing for major adjustments as we look at the number of the affected, growing each day. There is a major downfall in the industry with vast disruptions in the labor and supply sectors. Not to forget, employment issues too.
It will take some time to get back on the road and resume the businesses at the same pace again. The ‘virus’ is just another hurdle, in this race of life. Surely, it has brought changes that the world had never imagined, but, in no way has it affected the spirit. I’m sure we all can do it, fight the virus and win over it, together!
Q: You recently participated in the ‘Go Local for Wholesome Nutrition’ web symposium? What are your views about nutrition in today’s world?
A: The common goal of the “Sthaniya Aaharam Sampannam Poshanam” symposium by ICMR National Institute of Nutrition and Tata Sampann was to educate India on nutrition that can be derived from the ecosystem around us. It also focused on discussing how India’s varied food diversity and locally available foods are packed with more than a punch to deliver not just the required RDA, but also to address most of the health issues faced by a majority of Indians. I really feel proud of our Indian food. It has so many dimensions, so much variety. I have always been vocal about local food. Coarse grains like Kodo, ragi, jowar are more beneficial for health than polished grains. I was excited to be part of the symposium as it helped me voice my opinions and educate our people about the benefits of local food.
Q: Do you think by organizing such webinars/sessions, we can create awareness about Indian food and its benefits?
A: Yes! As the symposium emphasized the importance of local food for complete nutrition, I learned a lot of new things through the 4 sessions. The Indian kitchen is full of health. The masala Dabba we have in our kitchen is equivalent to a medicine box. Healthy and balanced eating has always been of importance, but the focus has increased now, and educating and creating awareness through such webinars and sessions is the need of the hour. I would encourage more such knowledge exchange platforms in the future. (IANS)
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.