“The shape of the fruit looks like a lotus, which is why we gave it a new Sanskrit name, kamalam,” said the chief minister of Gujarat.
The provincial government of Gujarat, home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided to change the name of dragon fruit as it believes the original name is associated with China, sparking opposition from the government. country.
India and China are currently locked in a military standoff along their disputed Himalayan border, with New Delhi responding to the deaths of 20 of its troops in June by banning Chinese-made apps and restricting imports.
“The government of Gujarat has decided … the word dragon fruit is not appropriate and is associated with China. The shape of the fruit resembles a lotus, which is why we have given it a new Sanskrit name, kamalam. There is nothing political about it, ”Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Tuesday.
The lotus, or kamal as it is called in Hindi, is the symbol of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The fruit will now be known as kamalam in the state, said Rupani, who is from BJP.
The development comes months after Modi praised farmers on a radio show for growing dragon fruit in the arid Kutch region of Gujarat.
“After that, the farmers approached me and suggested that I change the name of the dragon fruit to kamalam,” Vinod Chavda, BJP MP from Kutch, told Reuters news agency.
“I am happy that the state accepted the proposal.”
There are over 200 farmers in Kutch alone who cultivate dragon fruit on more than 1,500 acres (607 hectares), said Haresh Thakkar, a farmer in the area.
“The Indian name of the fruit will bring us more happiness. We believe that the acceptance level of the fruit will also increase if it is considered an Indian fruit, ”said Thakkar, who has been cultivating dragon fruit for five years.
The fruit is also cultivated in the neighboring state of Maharashtra and northeastern India. There was no indication that local governments were planning to change the name.
The opposition Congress called the name change a gimmick.
“The government has nothing worth showing as achievements and is trying to distract from the real issues,” Gujarat Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said.
Many on Indian social media also scoffed at the decision.
– BookMyShow (@bookmyshow) January 20, 2021
Oh yes, Vice President Dragon Fruit Harris.
– Aavi (@poisonaavi) January 20, 2021