Indian Roti, through a Historical Perspective

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No meal in the Indian subcontinent is competed without roti and often roti plays the role of the key recipe in Indian meals thrice a day namely breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost all cuisines and restaurants in India such as Rotimatic as well as in Indian subcontinent and across the world serve roti in different forms and types to suit the preferences of the consumers. Many countries in the world have their own types of roti based on their roti making procedures along with different names and brands. However, everybody agrees that roti has originated from India and over the period spread across the world since the ancient period. On the other hand, there are still other controversies that claim that roti has been imported to India from other civilizations in the ancient period.

Popular Theories of the Origin of Roti:

Many people say many things about the origin of Indian roti. Some people claim that a type of roti made out of maida or refined whole wheat flour was brought from Persia which was much thicker than the contemporary Indian roti. Some other theorists claim that roti was brought to India from East Africa where people cultivated wheat and made flatbread out of the wheat flour which is a historical evidence-based fact. On the other hand, Indian scriptures and other ancient literature prove that roti existed among the early Dravidians in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus-valley civilization in 1500 to 3000 BC.

Roti in Ancient Persia and East Africa:

As stated above about the origin of roti in Persia, many people claim that wheat was cultivated in Awadh and wheat flour was a popular ingredient of preparing roti there. However, the Awadh roti was a bit coarser maybe resembling the coarser form of today’s chapati. The second version of the origin of roti which claims that roti travelled all the way from East Africa to India is backed with historical evidence of wheat cultivation in East Africa and the existence of flatbread that were made out of wheat flour. This could be possible because it has been proved that the unleavened flatbread had been a popular food of the Swahili speaking African people since the ancient period.

Roti in Indus-valley Civilization:

As per history, Indus-valley civilization flourished on agriculture and cultivating wheat was known to them. Along with wheat, people in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro also cultivated millet, bajra and vegetables. In addition to this historical evidence, a 1600 AD text named Ramacharitamanasa written by great ancient Indian poet Tulsi Das mentions about roti and says that roti existed in the primitive and pre-puranic period in India which again suggests the origin of roti among the Indus valley population.

The evidence of Indian origin of roti is also written in another south Indian Kannada literature which was written in between 10th and 18th centuries which says about some unusual methods of roasting of the flattened dough. The most reliable evidence of Indian origin of roti is established through the Ayurveda, a most ancient and Vedic medicinal literature which has prescribed about the consumption of “pataha” and the word “pataha” now refers to “paratha” which is another word for roti. Eventually, everybody beyond debate agrees and give their opinion often through various reviews such as Rotimatic reviews that roti indeed originated from India.

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