As my lectures were scheduled for January 5 and 6 this year, I decided that Pulse Feast Day should be fittingly celebrated in the campus with students. As planned, on Wednesday January 6, Pulse Feast Day was celebrated with great fanfare at Great Lakes.
Based on inputs from the IYP2016 team, a colourful banner and a standee announcing Pulse Feast Day was prepared in Mumbai and carried to the campus where they were positioned at vantage points in the dining area of the two canteens used by students and faculty members.
In the pre-lunch lecture, I explained to my class how pulses help advance nutrition security and environmental sustainability. I also highlighted the significance of the UN declared International Year of Pulses and its implications for India, the world’s largest producer, processors, importer and consumer of pulses.
Thanks to the support of the School management, the lunch menu was a fabulous spread of many pulses in addition to the traditional Indian meal comprising rice and wheat bread. Sample this: Salad - sprouted green gram (moong) with lettuce; Soup - horse gram soup (native to India); Stew or dal makhni with rajma (red kidney bean) and desi chick pea (gram or chana); Stew with cow pea; and Biryani rice with rajma, green peas and white peas. For dessert, Halwa (sweet) made of green gram (moong dal).
The lunch menu attracted the attention of students and members of the teaching faculty alike. Scores of photographs were taken. The pictures have been shared with the IYP2016 team. One student whose family runs a restaurant in Chennai said he would display similar banner and standee at his restaurant to popularize International Year of Pulses, attract customers and educate them about the goodness of pulses.
It was heartening to note the huge interest in the subject among young people - leaders of the future. Given India’s demographics - 53 percent of the population below the age of 25 – creating awareness among young persons and educating them about the stellar role pulses can and do play in advancing nutrition security and environmental sustainability will go a long way in delivering long-term benefits for the global pulses sector as a whole and certainly for India.
After the success of the event at Great Lakes, I am keen to replicate it in other educational institutions I am associated with in Mumbai and elsewhere. 2016 still has 11 more months to go. It is important that industry and trade must come forward to support such events - financially and administratively. It is lacking in India; but I am determined to carry on regardless.
Chandra Shekar is a visiting fellow at Great Lakes Institute of Management Studies teaching post-graduate students and corporate executives as part of management development program. Great Lakes is a distinguished educational institution ranked among India’s top 10 B-Schools and boasts a sprawling campus located at Mahabalipuram (famous for ancient rock temples) near Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu State in India. Dr. Bala Balachandran, Founder and Dean, is a Distinguished Professor of Accounting and Information Management at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA.