Chapati marks 100 years as Malayali’s favourite; How a Sikh staple became beloved dish in Kerala – Kaumudi

Chapatis – Photo: Anjuli Ayer (2008)

KOTTAYAM: It has been 100 years since Chapati, the staple food of Sikhs, became a favourite dish of Malayalis. Chapati was introduced by the Sikhs who participated in the Vaikom Satyagraha. This new dish gradually found its way into our kitchens. The centenary celebration of Chapati’s popularity was held in a grand manner at Mavelikara

In support of the Vaikom Satyagraha, the Akalis arrived in Kerala under the leadership of Sardar Lal Singh and Baba Kripal Singh from Amritsar on April 29, 1924 and made and distributed free chapatis. Malayalis enjoyed them. Instead of the Punjabi mustard, Malayalis used coconut oil, ghee, dalda and palm oil. The dish, which can be eaten with or without any curry, has now become a staple item for many. Story writer K K Sudhakaran is the president and Reji Parappuram is the secretary of the ‘Katha’ literary organization, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of Chapati’s arrival yesterday.

Mahatma Gandhi opposed the protesters accepting free food from the Sikhs stating it was improper for those who could afford to eat otherwise. He considered it akin to beggary. The Akalis also insisted they would not close the eatery without the Gurdwara Committee’s order. KM Panicker reported that all committee members agreed to shut down the restaurant. The Akalis returned to Punjab but Chapati remained a mainstay on Malayalee dinner tables. – Kaumudi Online

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