From The Nanda Devi Affair, by Bill Aitken:

Beru Pakho bara masah, kafo pakho Chaita meri chela

In these lines are contained a lexicon of social habit. Translated, it is the observation of a village woman on the seasonal fruits of the jungle. The wild fig (beru) ripens all the year while the tree-raspberry (kaphal) fruits in the summer month of Chaitra. The milky fig grows to a modest size and if the latex is patiently boiled out, does make a kind of poor man’s substitute for a vegetable. What is important for Uttarakhand is the symbolism of this ubiquitous tree. The most sought-after shrine in Hinduism derives its name from this humble fig. Badri, the seniormost temple of the scared char dham apparently gets its name from the “beru” of the folksong. (Lord Vishnu while performing penancein the bleak Mana valley was forced to live off this unappetising fruit)

Advertisements