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VILLAGE ECONOMY > VILLAGE INDUSTRIES > Gur and Khandsari

 

10. Gur and Khandsari

Take the sugar industry. The largest major industry next to the textile is that of the manufacture of sugar. It stands in no need of our assistance. Sugar factories are fast multiplying. Popular agencies have done little to help the growth of this industry. It is indebted for its growth to favourable legislation. And today the industry is so prosperous and expanding that the production of jaggery is becoming a thing of the past. It is admittedly superior to refined sugar in nutritive value. It is this very valuable cottage industry that cries out for your help. This by itself furnishes large scope for research and substantial help. We have to investigate the ways and means of keeping it alive. This is but an illustration of what I mean.

Harijan, 10-8-1934


The advantages, attributed to tadi, are all available from other foodstuffs. Tadi is made out of khajuri juice. Fresh khajuri juice is not an intoxicant. It is known as nira in Hindustani and many people have been cured of their constipation as a result of drinking nira. I have taken it myself though it did not act as a laxative with me. I found that it had the same food value as sugar-cane juice. If one drinks a glass of nira in the morning instead of drinking tea etc., he should not need anything else for breakfast. As in the case of sugar-cane juice, palm juice can be boiled to make palm jaggery. Khajuri is a variety of palm tree. Several varieties of palm grow spontaneously in our country. All of them yield drinkable juice. As nira gets fermented very quickly, it has to be used up immediately and therefore on the spot. Since this condition is difficult to fulfill except to a limited extent, in practice, the best use of nira is to convert it into palm jaggery. Palm jaggery can well replace sugarcane jaggery. In fact some people prefer it to the latter. One advantage of palm jaggery over sugarcane jaggery is that it is less sweet and therefore one can eat more of it. The All India Village Industries Association has done a great deal to popularize palm jaggery, but much remains to be done. If the palms that are used for making tadi are used for making jaggery, India will never lack sugar and the poor will be able to get good jaggery for very little money. Palm jaggery can be converted into molasses and refined sugar. But the jaggery is much more useful than refined sugar. The salts present in the jaggery are lost in the process of refining. Just as refined wheat flour and polished rice lose some of their nutritive value because of the loss of the pericarp, refined sugar also loses some of the nutritive value of the jaggery. One may generalize that all foodstuffs are richer if taken in their natural state as far as possible.

Key to Health, pp. 33-34, Edn. 1956