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Jack of all fruits

Amid the pandemic the jackfruit has suddenly hit headlines. The largest fruit in the world, the humble jackfruit

jackfruit

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 Aug 2020 3:50 AM GMT

Amid the pandemic the jackfruit has suddenly hit headlines. The largest fruit in the world, the humble jackfruit also seems to be the master of all fruits, being a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants required to strengthen one's immune system. In this Covid-19 era, as people are constantly looking towards improving the immune system, the jackfruit, with its immunity-boosting qualities has suddenly come to limelight. Vitamin A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, zinc and niacin – name any immunity-boosting nutrient, and the jackfruit has it. It also boosts energy, ensures a better cardiovascular health and regulates blood pressure. Jackfruit also helps protect eyes from bacterial and viral infection, slows down ageing, fights wrinkles, and reduces mental stress, apart from building muscles. That exactly is why nutritionists call it an intelligent fruit. Originally indigenous to India, the tropical jackfruit has high demand across the globe. India and the Northeast have an edge over many countries in growing jackfruit. But, while Tripura produces the highest quantity of jackfruits in India, Assam comes third after Odisha, and followed by West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Chattisgarh. People of Assam are very fond of jackfruit, as also its seed, the kathal-guti. Assamese folklore has lot of jackfruit stories, riddles, and proverbs etc. The smaller mouse – the Assamese counterpart of Mickey Mouse – is fondly referred to as kathal-gutiya nigoni. One Assamese riddle goes this way: "Oparar pora poril tekeli/tar bhitarat exo bhekuli" (An earthen pot fell from above/There are a hundred frogs inside it). The sticky substance in jackfruit is called 'kathalor etha' in Assamese; so difficult it is to get rid of it that people also call a person difficult to get rid of as 'kathalor etha.' A captivating woman is also referred to as 'kathalor etha' in Assamese. Assamese people have this bad habit of talking big without actually doing much; this is beautifully depicted in a proverb – "Gasat kathal, onthat tel/ nou khaontei selbel" (Applies oil on the lips even when the jackfruit is up there in the tree/talk about it too much even before eating it). No wonder people of states producing less jackfruit than Assam have already started marketing jackfruit and kathal-guti online, while the Assamese are only gossiping about it.

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