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Mahatma Gandhi


39. Adulteration of Ghee

Dr. Kailas Nath Katju writes:

"I have read with great interest in Harijan of 20th January your note on adulteration of ghee. It may interest you to know that before we resigned office in the U.P. this problem had engaged our closest consideration. Adulteration is rampant and must be stopped. The misfortune is that it is not only the ghee-dealer and the middleman who have taken to adulteration, but even the ghee producers in the villages are resorting to adulteration in their own homes before they bring ghee to the market. The cheap vanaspati and other vegetable ghee so-called make adulteration such an easy process. We considered the question of compulsory admixture of vegetable oils with some edible colour or flavour, but the difficulty is to discover some such harmless colour or flavour. In the hot climate of India there is a danger of injury to health by the use of such fast colour.

"We had drafted and introduced in the U. P. Legislature a comprehensive bill to stop this mischief. It was at the committee stage when we resigned. The bill confers power on the Provincial Government to prescribe colouring or flavouring of artificial ghee or vegetable oils. But I think the more useful and really important provision in the bill for the purpose in hand is that which arms the Provincial Government with the power to prohibit sale of artificial or vegetable ghee in ghee-producing areas. I have known of rural areas where ghee is produced on a large scale and where practically no one consumes vegetable ghee, yet vegetable ghee is sold in huge quantities and purchased by people for purposes of adulteration. We thought that in such areas where vegetable ghee is really sold for these universal purposes the only proper method is to prohibit its sale altogether, and thus protect and foster the genuine ghee industry.

"I hope this measure will meet with your approval. Agriculture without dairy industry cannot flourish. In the U.P. we also encouraged the formation in large numbers of ghee co-operative societies. and I insisted that the bye-laws of such societies must have stringent regulations to stop and check adulteration by its members. That was also proving efficacious.

"I am writing this to you in the hope that it may interest the readers of Harijan."

The suggestion made by Dr. Katju about specially dealing with ghee producing areas is worthy of consideration. Indeed the question of adulteration of this important article of national diet is so important that it requires all-India treatment. It need not wait for disposal of the so-called higher politics.

On the way to Delhi, 5-2-1940

Harijan, 17-2-1940