Did you know that asafetida (hing) is used as an alternative to chemical pesticide?
Every time Kaushal, my friend of over two decades now, leaves for Hathras he calls me up asking, “Comrade hing Chaiye kya?”
And I end up saying, “Jaroor?” Because the stuff he brings is pure and not diluted as the reputed brands in the market.
It happens so that Kaushal’s wife is from Hathras. Every time he visits Hathras or someone comes visiting him from Hathras hing (asafetida) comes along. Hathras, now a full fledged district of Uttar Pradesh is traditionally famous for its hing and ghee.
Yesterday Kaushal again called up asking, “Comrade Hing chaiye kya?”
I did say yes but then probed him further asking whether he was visiting his in-laws. He jokingly said, “Arrey dahej mein hing hi mila, kya karoon?”
Is it true, I asked, that hing is used as a pesticide?
“Arrey hing ki khali bori hazar rupaiye mein bikte hain,” he answered.
The jute bags which are used to carry hing are sold for Rs 1000 each and the farmers place the bag at the source of the water for days together. Those who have been using this technique no more use chemical pesticides and are assured of a bountiful crop. Having come to know of this I asked Kaushal, “Bring me a discarded bag instead.”