Spiralling prices of pulses have taken the flavour out of ‘Haleem’, a popular non-vegetarian dish believed to have been brought to India in the 16th century to become a staple diet of the Muslim community during the holy month of Moharram.
In Rajasthan’s Kota city, with a 15% Muslim population, community members said the ever-rising price of all varieties of pulses has led to a decrease in the preparation of Haleem during the ongoing Moharram month.
The Moharram month stretches over 50 days and would conclude in the first week of December this year.
City Quazi Anwaar Ahmad said that although there was no religious connection of Haleem with Islam and Moharram, the dish has emerged as a tradition during the holy month.
Fazle Haque, general secretary of the All India Quazi Board too said that sentiments of Muslims are attached with Haleem during Moharram but inflation of pulses has hit the poor man who is facing difficulty in cooking it during the month.
“Earlier, we used to spend Rs 2,500 in the preparation of a deg of Haleem but now it costs around Rs 3,500-4,000, thanks to rising prices of pulses,” said Islam Khan of Kotri area in the city.
Each deg prepares around 15-18 kg of Haleem, he informed, adding, “While last year many members of the community prepared Haleem with the start of Moharram, such trend is not seen this year.”
One Asif Khan of Kota said the gradual increase in the prices of meat over the years had already increased the cost of Haleem preparation but steep increase in pulses prices has now further hiked its cost.
Mohammad Shahid, a professional Haleem cook, said that at least 5-7 kg of different kinds of pulses including moong, urad, arhar and others, around 5 kg of gram pulse and 5 kg of meat along with some quantity of rice, ghee and oil are used in preparation of a deg of Haleem but their prices have doubled from the last year.
“I have not got enough work for Haleem preparation in Moharram so far, apparently due to high prices of pulses,” he said. One Tabrez Pathan said pulses are considered food of poor and even poor people used to prepare Haleem, but hike in pulses prices has made it difficult for the community people to prepare Haleem this year.