The glaring headlines of the 14 April issue almost elevated unconfirmed toxicity of Kharang to that of “radiation exposure” of radioactive nuclear waste in post-tsunami Japan then. This story comes out as if hurtling with the haste to prove Kharang leads to cancer.
We use kharang almost every day in the family menu. It represents a simple staple diet to most of the struggling folks in the east. Kharang is popular in Thimphu and other major towns as well now.
With the little that Bhutancan produce to address local food supplies, such stories unfoundedat least scientifically (based on the story) can prove detrimental both economically and psychologically, and not to mention the rupee crunch imbroglio.
Alcohol from any source leads to cirrhosis not just Kharang. There are many substrates used to produce ara. Unfortunately, as kharang is available it is thus mostly used.
Kharang is more equal to food than to alcohol! The story could have been more complete, if the paper went little beyond what is easily attention-grabbing. Some folks in the village will continue to eat Kharang even if media proves that Kharang leads to AIDs. They have less choice. We have more choice to be sensitive.
Karma Thinley (Wamrongpa)