For college-goers, recklessness often seems to be the norm. The search for affordable indulgences pushes health to the back burner and one expects that dietary care will be the last thing on a youngster’s mind.
From next year, however, this lifestyle will remain susceptible to the presence of millet grains that are soon to creep up on university students all across the nation.
Activities, lectures, and renewed food menus at the cafeteria will all be designed in celebration of the ‘international year of millets’ in the year 2023.
University Grants Commission has directed all educational institutions within the country to propose a list of activities that would further this celebration within the higher educational institutes of India,
This plan of making acquaintances with millets has already hit the ground running at IIT Bombay.
Powai-based IITians have been attending a series of talks about the various aspects of millet cultivation and are soon to taste the products firsthand, as the institute hopes to accommodate these grains into the campus diet, an IIT official said.
Millets remain widely consumed yet lesser-known seed crops, consisting of grains like bajra, jowar, ragi, and kangni, which the Indian government aims to appreciate under this initiative.
Youngsters still have reservations when it comes to embracing this experiment.
“I have always had millets at home, the grain is not the problem, we just do not know what the mess will make with these grains,” said a Ph.D. student, taken aback at the development.
“Each hostel does have a mess council, so if students don’t like millet-based dishes then we just vote it out,” she explained.
In contrast, micronutrients in the canteen piqued the interest of health enthusiasts at IIT.
“I keep looking for healthier sources of food at lower prices, that’s what my priorities as a student are. If the mess chefs pull through with good recipes, then I will certainly switch to eating a bhakri over a roti,” claimed Apurv Tiwari, a research student at the IIT.
Hearing of millets was a first for many other students at the IIT. They found it easier to place what jowar and bajra were but the overarching seed group of millets remained something they had heard of, yet never understood. “I have never had any food made out of millet grains,” said a second-year BTech student. “I suppose if they are that good for us, and if they taste alright, I would not mind trying them at least,” he added.
Preparing ready-to-make meals and making fun unconventional snacks will catch the attention of students, says Bibhishan Bagal from Shekru foundation, who spoke to IITians about the production of millets. “It was refreshing to see students take interest in the problems that farmers faced while cultivating these grains. They tried to come up with devices that would act as easy solutions for the farmers,” he said.