I was reading a wikipedia page about this chap called Kaka Joginder Singh. He was awesome in a strange way- I quote from his wikipedia page " Kaka Joginder Singh (1918 in Gujranwala - December 23, 1998 in Bareilly) (alias Dharti Pakad meaning "one who clings to the ground") was a textile owner who contested and lost over 300 elections in India".
On a completely unrelated note ; does anyone else remember this show on Doordarshan from the late 80s- perhaps 1989 (CE. not BC.I am not that old, yet). ? It was about some kids that were stuck in the world of vegetables. The king of this healthy land was the Baingan Raja. How many of my fellow Hyderabadis suppressed a snicker there..or a 5 star, if you so prefer?. I digress, Baingan Raja ( and not Baigun ka raja) had a standing army, I wonder if mid management in the veggie army was by Corn...you see it already has the Colonels.
Speaking of food, many non-desi people I meet here, especially Americans bring up food, for them, their only contact with Indian "culture" are Indian movies and food. Let us take food for instance,and they try to bond speaking of a chicken tikka masala they ate at the Indian restaurant nearby- which totally sucks fyi. Food is so much a part of cultural identity. What we eat, defines us in so many ways. Even what we do not eat tells you a lot .
I have often wondered how food "back in the day" would have tasted. So many of the ingredients we take for granted in Indian cuisine today are not native to our land. Tamarind, for instance, ironically called Tamarindus indica; is native to Africa. Potatoes and Chillies are native to South America, as is corn. Tomatoes are an other South American export. I can't imagine how Indian food would taste without these. No tomato in rasam, rajma or in butter chicken would not be fun. I cannot imagine Andhra food without chilies.Of course with so many different people from all kinds of places visiting various regions there is another factor in culinary evolution. Once I am done with grad school, I think I should start reading more about this. For now however, I throw myself back into work.