As it turns out, Gobi Manchurian was not the biggest blow that India could have dealt to Chinese national pride. No, that could only happen by renaming dragon fruit because, according to Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, the common English name makes one think of China — a strict no-no given current geopolitical circumstances. And, so, the fruit with the spiky, fuchsia peel will henceforth be known as “kamalam”, thanks to its resemblance to our national flower. Any tip of the hat to a certain political party is purely coincidental.
But why stop at dragon fruit which, as a matter of fact, is of central American origin? Considering how far back Indo-Chinese relations go, there are plenty of other things to rename, starting with white sugar aka cheeni. It would be very non-atmanirbhar of us to not come up with our own name for it. And what about chai, which originates in the Chinese word for tea, cha? We also propose that Malayalis should hereafter stop referring to their karahis as cheenachatti because that word is a clear reference to the wok’s Chinese antecedents. Nobler minds have already suggested that foods of Chinese origin should be banned, so there’s no point repeating it, although it would be remiss of us to not point out that chowmein and manchow soup probably have more to do with Surat than Suzhou.
Of course, at some point, we’ll remember that no aspect of culture remains static, especially in an interconnected world as ours. To use a metaphor from Chinese cuisine (forgive us), it’s a bit like the broth in a hot pot to which various ingredients are added — thinly-sliced chicken, maybe some bean sprouts, followed by noodles and, perhaps, shrimp balls and fried tofu — until it becomes far richer and more appetising than it would have been on its own.