If you think cigarette is bad, it is time you learn about bidi. We are pretty darn sure that those of you who smoke bidi will seriously consider quitting the same and if not quit smoking completely, you will at least switch to cigarette. Having said that, it never means that we advocate cigarettes or smoking tobacco in any sense. Tobacco is bad and it must be avoided completely. Let us not waste too much of precious time and learn 20 interesting bidi facts.
Interesting Bidi Facts: 1-10 (A Bit of History)
1. Also spelled as biri or beedi, bidi or bidi cigarettes are Indian cigarettes that are also made in other Asian countries.
2. Birth place of bidis in Gujarat. It was late 17th century when tobacco cultivation started in India. The workers used to take the leftovers of cultivated tobacco and rolled them in leaves to make bidis.
3. The tobacco flakes are usually wrapped in tendu leaves but back in late 17th century tobacco workers made use of kachnar leaves.
4. In 1899 when Gujarat faced a famine. It was during the famine that two brother named Mohanlal and Hargovindas Patel moved to Jabalpur region as railway contractors and it was there that they discovered that tendu leaves were better for wrapping tobacco flakes. The seized the opportunity and set up local factories for bidi rolling.
5. In 1901 Haribhai Desai from the state of Bombay was the first person to register trademark using kachnar leaves. Next year in 1902, Mohanlal and Hargovindas Patel registered trademark for bidis using tendu leaves.
6. By 1930s, the bidi industry experienced cosmic growth. There were two primary reasons for such rapid growth. First, tobacco cultivation in India increased massively and second, Gandhi’s policy of supporting Indian industries and products provided the much needed push.
7. During those days, educated Indians started smoking bidis to help Gandhi’s non-cooperative movement. Muslim leaders also joined in and started rejecting cigarettes on the basis that they were foreign products.
8. Bidi manufacturing in India became a highly competitive industry by mid-20th century and bidi manufacturing companies started employing well over 100 men mainly as bidi rollers.
9. Between 1940s and 1960s, several government regulations reduced the stature of bidi manufacturing industry to that of a cottage industry with women becoming the primary workers for rolling the bidis.
10. Today nearly 3 million Indians are involved as bidi rollers in this cottage industry with majority of them being women who roll anywhere between 500 and 1000 bidis a day.