This might break your heart, but your favourite home-cooked 'rajma' is not Indian. You may want to enter into a debate about this, but if you turn the pages of some history books you'll find out that 'rajma' or red kidney beans actually originated in Peru! Cricket is a religion we all follow. From fighting over who got to bat first to smashing windows in the neighbourhood, we've all grown up with some distinct memories of the game from our childhood. Alas, this game isn't ours either!
We've embraced a lot of wonderful things from different parts of the world and made them our own. They're so Indian now that we may get offended if you tell us they aren't Indian. Here are 14 things that we have grown so used to, you wouldn't believe they didn't originate in India. To find more non-Indian things Indians have made their own, check this informative discussion on Quora.
Bata shoes: Bata (also known as Bata Shoe Organisation) is a family-owned global footwear and fashion accessory manufacturer and retailer with acting headquarters located in Lausanne, Switzerland. And we lived under the impression that Bata was our own!
Samosa: This is earth-shattering piece of news. Samosa isn’t Indian either. How? ‘The SAMOSA probably travelled to India along ancient trade routes from Central Asia. Small, crisp mince-filled triangles that were easy to make around the campfire during night halts, then conveniently packed into saddlebags as snacks for the next day’s journey. According to the “The Oxford Companion to Food” the Indian samosa is merely the best known of an entire family of stuffed pastries or dumplings popular from Egypt and Zanzibar to Central Asia and West China.’ – www.samosa-connection.com
Potatoes: It is tough to imagine a curry without potatoes and tomatoes in India. But potatoes came to India only 400 years ago and tomatoes were first used in India as late as the 19th century!
Cricket: Originally from England, India now accounts for 70-80% of ICC’s income. Now Cricket is a widely followed religion in India and Sachin Tendulkar is our god.
Chinese fast food: Of course, it comes from China. But the Gobhi Machurian you learned to cook is only an improvement upon the authentic Chinese food. The momos/ dimsums/ dumplings you relish on the streets are all a part of Chinese cuisine.
Maggi: A hosteller’s guide to survival, Maggi is India’s favourite 2-minute meal. You could add your own vegetables to it and get creative with garnishing too. Owned by Nestlé since 1947, the original company was founded in Switzerland in 1872 by Julius Maggi.
Congress grass: Ever been asked to stay away from this wild grass that causes itching? This plant became not only uninvited guest but also threat to our own crop. Thanks to America. ‘Congress grass is the deadliest weed that we have in India thanks to the government’s decision to import an innocuous variety of wheat, PL-480 from the US in the 1950s and this weed came with it – in fact, the deadly weed is named “Congress” grass because it was imported into the country by the then Congress government in centre. It spread rapidly across the country and it is estimated that in the last 50 years, over 350 lakh hectares of land in the country (or over 10% or our land area) including 20 lakh hectares of arable land has been infested by this deadly weed. The cumulative loss on account of this weed till date with its impact on humans, animals as well as crops so far has been estimated at a whopping Rs.160,516 crores.’ – Quora
Kites: First invented in China more than two thousand years ago, today you can find it most children’s favourite pastime in Indian villages. On every Independence Day in India you can find many colourful kites in the sky as a mark of celebrations.
Red kidney beans: Your favourite ‘rajma-chawal’, which you thought was a typical Punjabi cuisine, really comes from Peru! ‘They’re part of a larger group called “common beans,” which were cultivated as early as 8,000 years ago. Grown in Colonial America, kidney beans were cultivated by Acadian farmers in Louisiana in the late 1700s and planted by Spanish settlers. Haitians emigrating to New Orleans in the late 1700s brought spicy Caribbean recipes for beans and rice. Enslaved African plantation workers along the Mississippi River also ate meals of spicy red beans and rice.’ – www.camelliabrand.com
Hand knitting: Every winter your mother or grandmother would sit in the sun and knit beautiful patterns for you. You may have thought this skill was passed down from generations to them. The earliest instances of hand knitting were found near Egypt.
The Beating Retreat: After the Republic Day, the Beating Retreat makes us proud of our armed forces. This practice dates back to the 16th century England and was used to recall nearby patrolling units to their castles.
Chickpeas: Chickpeas or channa are prepared during festivals and are also offered in temples. The channa however, came to India from the Middle East, from Turkey or Syria through Iran.
Silk: Does your mother have a huge collection of authentic silk sarees from south India? Silk was brought to India centuries ago by a Chinese trader, all silkworms in India descended from that one Chinese pair!
Tea: Chai deserves to be the national beverage of India. Originally from China, tea was popularised in India by the British as competition to the Chinese monopoly in the tea trade.