By RAYEES AHMAD KUMAR
Breaking fast during Ramzan with basil seed drink ( babri treash) has been a centuries old practice in Kashmir. I remember during my childhood, children in groups of ten to fifteen used to throng mosque during magrib prayers to recieve this drink at iftaar times. It hardly mattered whether they kept the fast or not during the day but basil seed drink had been their own choice. Any muslim who offers a piece of date, a glass of plain water, a glass of milk or a glass of any drink to any other person at iftaar time to break the fast gets reward equal to that of a fasting muslim. Basil Seed Drink and Ramzan are so closely associated to each other in Valley that it is almost impossible to think of Ramzan without this special drink. Men, women children and young all are fond of this mind refreshing drink during the month of fasting. During the month of Ramzan, in addition to the preparation of different delicious dishes in the kitchen, special at focus is given for the preparation of basil seed drink by our female folk. In advance men buy these basil seeds from the market so that this drink is available for the family members from the very first day of fasting.
Basil Seeds are a blessing in view of their richest nutritive value. These are enriched with calcium, fats, fibres, mangnese, phosphorus, vitamins, iodine, thymine and antioxidants. An hour or half an hour before the iftaar time, few seeds of basils are soaked either in plain water or milk or a mixture of milk and water then suger is added to the solution to make it a sweet drink.
In view of it’s tremendous medicinal benifits, this drink is recommended medically as well. Let’s see how this special drink has been a boon for us.
Basil Seeds help us in loosing our overweight. when soaked in water or milk these seeds expand to many times of it’s original volume and we don’t feel hungry for some time. As these seeds are full of fibres, they help us in easy bowl movements as well as getting rid off from the constipation. Basil Seeds have a hypoglycemic effect thus help diabetic patients to normalize their blood suger level. As soon as basil seed drink is taken during iftaar times , we feel somewhat relaxed and it also help us in lowering the body heat. Thus it acts as a coolent.For those men and women who often complain about stomach acidity after taking some meals, basil seed drink can come to their rescue in regulating their stomach acidity. Raised levels of bad cholesterol are always injurious to heart and blood vesels. Taking basil seed drink can do wonders in lowering it’s level.
Since basil seeds are highly packed with vitamin A and K, proteins, iron , beta carotene, minerals like copper, calcium, folates, mangnese, magnesium and flavonoids etc it improves skin and hair health. This special drink of basil seeds is also helpful in decreasing the stress level and mental fatigue. To get rid off from mouth ulcers and bad breath, it is recommended to take basil seed drink during iftaar times. It acts as a tonic for the kidneys in view of its diuretic effects. However pregnant mothers should not take this drink as basil seeds have been found to lower down the oestrogen levels.
Since it is highly rewarding for a muslim to make his muslim brethren to break the fast during Ramzan at iftaar times, people take different eatables in mosques and other places of worship during this month. Dates, juice packets, milk and this special basil seed drink is always preferred when it comes to break the fast at iftaar times.
In villages and also in towns some people and also some notable families are famous for serving eatables especially basil seed drink at iftaar times during the fasting month. They consider it a great rewarding deed to serve eatables during iftaar. Besides having a religious connection, serving eatables especially basil seed drink at iftaar has now become a cultural tradition in Valley. Different organisations, NGOs and some offices have been conducting the iftaar parties for last few years as a goodwill gesture to attract the public support. In these parties apart from dates , fruits and biryani, basil seed drink is specially served in mass gatherings. People enthusiastically throng in good numbers to these parties to make the iftaar party a success. Our women folk also who toil extremely hard during this month both inside the kitchen as well as in outside chorus like in kitchen garden etc do not feel burdened when asked for basil seed drink preparation. Instead they feel pleased to prepare it to be served during iftaar. In view of it’s much popularity in Kashmir, some people think that it is endemic to valley only but the case is not so it is found and taken with same sprit outside the valley as well.
It doesn’t need any special skill or tough task to prepare this popular drink but when it comes to the rewards for serving during iftaar and also it’s medicinal benifits, it is really a big gift from God. Let’s pledge to serve eatables especially basil seed drink during iftaar every Ramzan so that Allah would be pleased to us and our sins are erased during this sacred month.
RAYEES AHMAD KUMAR is a columnist a permanent writer of Kashmir CANVAS. He hails from Qazigund Kashmir.