Dal-roti Minus The Roti

The average American enjoys the occasional lentil soup — served in delis or cafeterias — but lentils, or dals, feature on the daily menu of most Indians. In America too, most Indian kitchens are well-stocked with myriad dal varieties, supplies of which are replenished by weekend visits to the nearest desi store.

In late June, the Commerce Ministry issued a notification putting a temporary halt in the international trade of pulses and lentils till the end of the year, but later extended it to March 2007. The export ban — which came about after stormy scenes in Parliament — was intended as a stop-gap measure to ease inflation in the domestic market. For now, the Indians abroad have to bear the brunt of the populist move.

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