Wednesday, June 7, 2017




Quite often I used to find that “Nadeir Monjji or Monjji Gooel” ( fried Pakoras made from Lotus stem and rice powder ) sold by some Halwais in Kashmir had a little unpleasant smell. I would ask my father the reason for all that unpleasant smell. First he kept ignoring my questions and then finally he explained that these local Halwais use “Aliesha Teel” or “Linseed oil” for frying . He also explained that due to Poverty , Not all kashmiris could afford Mustard oil and hence many families in Kashmir used Linseed or Aliesha oil in their kitchen . 

Linseed crop was widely grown in villages and the De-oiled cakes were used as animal feed in kashmir . Dry Weeds of the plant were also used animal fodder. Father had also told me a strange thing about the Aliesh Linseed plant :

“ Before Blooming , the Plant and its leaves are poisonous for animals ; But once flowers appear in this plant , it becomes a fodder/ Food of choice for the animals .”

We used to Buy Mustard oil from an Oil Mill in Surateng Rainawari ( Near the cluster of houses belonging to Hakeem Family ) . I would be sent to Buy Oil that used to be sold by weight ( Seer , Paav ,Adda Seer etc ) . . I would always find a stock of dried and ripened seeds of linseed plant inside the oil Mill.
The proprietor of the mill was a Handicapped person who would always suggest and recommend linseed oil ( Aliesha Teel ) to customers :
“ Ni Aliesha Teel seer Jora. Ye chhu Zabar “
“Buy two seers of Linseed Oil. It is the best ” 

Word Aliesh was also popular in kashmiri language for its sarcastic usage .

“ Maa Laag Aliesh . Gutschh kar Panein Kaa’m ”
“ Don’t stick to me . Do your own Job “

Now kashmiris have discarded this oil . The cultivation of linseed crop also been abolished altogether . So Aliesh ( Linseed ) in Kashmir is a story of the past.

I found linseed grown in many areas of the country. Its oil though not used for cooking , has found a place in Varnish , Sports Goods and Paint Industry as a raw material. The fiber of this plant is also used in Paper Industry .It is also used in soap and ink industry.

Aliesh (Linseed ) is also known as Alsi . It is believed to be rich in Omega -3 fatty acid which is considered good for Heart  Accordingly  the demand  for  Linseed oil and its seeds has grown substantially world over . These seeds are also consumed raw or after roasting them mildly.

Modern Medical science has established the usefulness of Linseed in slowing down Osteoporosis apart from acting as a natural Laxative 

( Autar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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