‘Rajamudi,’ a variety of red rice that was earlier grown exclusively for the Wadiyars of Mysore, drew Bangaloreans in droves to the two-day Rice Mela organised by the Sahaja Samrudha Organic Producers Company. The event, which concluded on Sunday, was organised at Gandhi Bhavan near Shivananda Circle.
Over 6,000 people attended the exhibition and sale of over 100 different varieties of rice. It is said that Rajamudi was the quality of rice eaten by the Wadiyars of Mysore. “Those who were unable to pay their taxes in cash were encouraged to pay the king of Mysore this variety of rice as tax instead,” said a representative of Sahaja Samrudha. Anitha Reddy, trustee of Sahaja Samrudha, said, “All red rice, including Rajamudi, is high on nutrition. Red rice is especially good for those who might be diabetic, or wish to reduce weight.”
Another variety of rice that got a lot of attention was ‘Dia anna,’ so named for being especially beneficial for diabetics. This variety is grown in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, and is rich in fibre and minerals. It is also a good source of vitamins B and E. As the grains are fibre-rich, the rice is digested slowly and the release of sugar into the blood occurs at a slower pace than with white rice.
Many customers who had heard of ‘Dia anna’, however, left disappointed as there were no stocks of this variety of grain. It had sold briskly, and the stocks were all over by afternoon. There were many enquiries about where the rice could be bought.
Many of the grains available at the mela were said to have medicinal properties. There were also varieties renowned for their aroma, and for being unpolished. The average price of the rice was in the `40-`45 per kg range.
Shantha Kumar, the state coordinator for the Save our Rice Campaign in Karnataka, said, “Traditionally, many rice varieties have been used to cure ailments such as kidney stones, heart diseases and diabetes. Some of the prominent medicinal varieties of rice include Karibatha, Kalame, Karikalave, Doddabaira nellu, Kari Gajivili and Sannakki.”
While Kalame grown along the coast is said to be a cure for piles. Sannakki, grown in Uttara Kannada, helps cure diarrhoea in children.
Doddabaira Nellu of Bangalore and Kolar districts is recommended to those suffering from high blood pressure, chest pain and heart diseases.
Banati Batta is a variety of grain used to keep lactating mothers in good health. Sanhakki, which is commonly grown in Uttara Kannada, is fed as gruel to children who suffer from nausea or dysentery. Many impressed homemakers sought to know if the grains could be made available all the year round, at stores near their homes. Bhadravathi G, a housewife, said, “My children like the polished rice, but I have now started having pains in the joints, and I would like to pick a good variety of rice for my health condition.”