Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 21
To make millets popular across the Punjab region and revive traditional food habits, Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) organised “Magnificent millets utsav and dialogue”, a three-day event from January 18 to 20, to encourage the consumption of millet-based foods among tricity residents.
The festival culminated with a “Dialogue on millets”, organised by the University Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management (UIHTM), Panjab University (PU), and the KVM.
The session was inaugurated by Justice Surya Kant, Chief Justice, Himachal Pradesh High Court. The panelists included Prof Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, PU, Shankarji Jha, Director (University Instruction), Prashant K Gautam, Director, UIHTM, Rambabu, millet expert, Dr Sachin Gupta, oncologist, and Umendra Dutt, executive director, KVM.
Around 200 students of the UIHTM attended the session along with members of the public. While appreciating KVM’s millet revival efforts Justice Surya Kant encouraged students to give millets-based dishes a modern touch, while getting back in touch with their roots.
In his keynote address, Rambabu reminded students of the need to reconnect with the source of the food, the farmer and the soil to truly understand the essence of cooking. He said this would lead to making the food both an ‘amrit’ and an ‘aushadhi’.
While talking about the prevailing cancer and other diseases in the Punjab region, Dr Sachin Gupta pointed out that the chemical-laden food was one of the contributing factors.
Dr Vinay Chamoli used the analogy of rivers Ganga and Yamuna that combined to form Saraswati to illustrate that the coming together of colleges, the university and the KVM to conduct festivals could give rise to a new kind of consciousness and motivate youngsters to take millet movement ahead.
Umendra Dutt spoke about the vision of Kheti Virasat Mission in Punjab, which included promoting sustainable farming to bring the soil back to life. Rambabu, chef and author of “Miracle Millets” lead the cookery workshops in which participants learned to make dishes.
Members of ‘Bebe De Rasoi’, a women’s empowerment initiative of the KVM also offered traditional dishes like ‘makki di roti’, ‘saag’, ‘bhoot pinne and ‘moth’, ‘bajra khichdi’ and ‘rabri’. Farmers from Punjab and Haryana, growing organic millet were also invited to display their produce at the festival.
Administration sponsored visit for 600 students from city schools at the festival. Students also took part in a special ‘Millets Quiz’ at the venue.
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