Assam soft rice which is also known as the ‘Kumol Saul’ or ‘Boka Saul’ in local dialect, has been granted with the GI tag and the same has been announced by the Intellectual Property India (IPI) website. a favourite fast food for the indigenous people of Assam, this soft rice needs no cooking and can be prepared in minutes just by soaking into the water. remarkably, this GI recognition has come to this rice variety following the grant of GI status to yet another rice variety, Joha, which is popularly liked and loved for its aroma.
It was back in 2016 only when the process of seeking GI tag for the Kumol Saul had started first when Hemanta Baishya applied for it at the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Hemanta Baishya is a founder-member of a civil society organisation named Lotus Progressive Centre, which works for the preservation of the indigenous varieties of rice since 1999. In the year 2017, Baishya and Simanta Kalita of Guwahati-based Centre for Environment Education (CEE), made “a special presentation” at a national summit held by IPI in New Delhi on the rice. They were also accompanied by a few peasants who practice Komal Saul farming.
This particular rice variant is usually sowed in the month of June and is harvested in December. However, although this is not much known to many, there is a little difference in the taste of both the rice types, Kumol Saul and Boka Saul. The Kumol Saul is seen to be produced in the upper Assam while the Boka Saul is a lower Assam production. For making this soft rice ready to eat, one needs to keep it soaked in water for some minutes which may vary from 20 to 40 minutes.
The fables and history say that the Kumol Saul was a particularly favourite food of the Ahoms, especially of the Ahom Army due to its ease of preparation. The peasants working in the paddy field and the Assamese families too considers it as a healthy and quickly prepared food. Kumol or Boka Saul is mostly taken with boiled milk or curd, banana and jaggery.