Apples are one of the most delicious and nutritious of fruits, relished in every nook and corner of this planet. They have been cultivated all across the World, across places and times. There are more than 7500 varieties of this fruit that come in colours such as red, green and yellow.
A Sample of the different varieties of apple
In India, the two states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir abound in Apples and Apple trees.
An Apple Tree in Himachal Pradesh, the Apple Garden of India.
This fruit is known as Phalaprabhedah in Samskrt.
Other Fruits called by the word Apple
The term Apple was a generic word for all other fruits, in the European languages, during the medieval period.
|Old English||Cucumber||Earth Apples|
|In Some European Languages||Tomatoes||Love Apples|
|In Some European Languages||Oranges||Golden Apples|
|In Some European Languages||Datura||Thorn Apple|
There is a fruit by name of Wood Apple, known as Bael, in Samskrt and as Valampazam in Tamil. This fruit is also known by other names such as Elephant Apple and Monkey Fruit. It has the name Wood Apple, due to its hard wooden shell. It is known as Elephant Apple, because it is the favourite fruit of the elephants.
Then, there is the fruit called Custard Apple, also known as Sweet Apple. This fruit is known as Sitaphal in Hindi. It is known by this name, as the legends tell us that it was this fruit that Devi Sita mainly had during Her Vanvas, exile,
Thus we see that, the word “Apple” has a wider connotation.
The popularity of Apple stems from ancient times.
Apple has been associated with many legends across the world.
The Story of the Forbidden Fruit
In the Bible, we have the story of Adam and Eve, who were forbidden by God to eat the apple of knowledge of good and evil. They eventually did, tempted by a serpent, and after which they became ordinary humans.
So, while Apple denotes positivity in most cultures, there are some religions that consider it as representing evil.
Apples is often associated with temptation.
Adam and Eve eating Apple
The legend states that the Apple got stuck in Adam’s throat. A tradition today exists in the West, of referring to the chunk of bony cartilage that’s wrapped around the larynx, as Adam’s apple. It is more prominently visible on men’s throat, and is the biologically defining part in a male.
Apple of one’s eye
We have often heard the phrase, “Apple of One’s Eye”, referring to the object of one’s affection. Apple here denotes love, and is a symbol of love in some cultures.
Venus, the Roman Goddess of love, beauty and fertility is show as holding an Apple.
Goddess Venus, holding an Apple
William Tell and the Apple
Then there is the popular story of William Tell shooting an Apple of his son’s head.
The story goes that in 1307, an agent of the Hapsburg Duke of Austria placed a Hapsburg hat on a pole and commanded the people passing by to remove their caps.
William Tell refused.
He was then ordered to shoot an Apple off his son’s head with an arrow, and if he failed to do so, then his son and he would both be put to death.
William Tell agreed and succeeded in hitting the Apple off his son’s head with a single shot.
William Tell successfully shot Apple off his son’s head
Gravity of Apple
The discovery of Gravity also happened under an Apple Tree. The story goes that he came up with the concept of gravity under an apple tree in Cambridge University. This apple tree is preserved and safeguarded in Cambridge University.
Sir Issac Newton under an Apple Tree
Gurutava and Gurutvaakarshana
The word gravity has an agnate word in the Samskrt, where it is referred to as Gurutva. In India, the word and concept of gravity has existed as Gurutva and Gurutvaakarshana respectively.
The root word Guru denotes ‘heavy, big and influencing’ and Akarshana means, ‘the power of attraction’. The word Guru and Gurutava means to attract. It is the root word for the English word gravity.
More on Gurutvaakarshana, in our books, “2012 – the Real Story” and “Breaking The Myths – Vol-4 – About Ability”.
Introduction of Apple in India
Samuel Evan Stokes was the Englishman who introduced apple crop in the valley around Shimla, the Kotgarh valley, in 1916.
Apple Orchads in Kotgarh
Samuel Evan Stokes later converted to Hinduism and thereafter changed his name to Satyanand Stokes.
Samuel Evan Stokes
His daughter-in law, Vidya Stokes today live on, and has been an active member of the Indian National Congress from 1970. She was elected to the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assemble in 1974, 1982, 1985, 1990, 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2012. That makes her an 8 time MLA.
The popularity of apples soon spread, and which encouraged the locals into planting Apples, rather than their usual crops of potato and plums.
The demands for apples grew from then on and orchards cropped up all over the valley of Himachal Pradesh, and spread to the neighboring state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Today, there exists a strong trade between these two states.
Apple Stokes Terrorism
There is a negative side to this apple trade.
There exists an Apple mafia in the trade between Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, across the Line of Control, through Muzaffarabad. Under invoicing and over invoicing has led to illegal money being diverted to assist terrorism in Kashmir for decades. This is the bloody side of the Kashmir Apple story.
Over 1500 Apple trucks move out of Kashmir every day.
The word Apple is today one of the most searched words on the Google, with 68 million global monthly searches, partly due to the most famous brand and company with its name, that produces consumer electronics, computer software and other products.
Health Benefits of Apple
Healthy Blood Circulation
There also exists a healthy side to the Apple Story. Apples also play a major role in healthy blood circulation. Apples contain pectin, a substance which mitigates the collection of cholesterol along the lining of blood vessels. This maintains a proper blood flow.
Best for Weight loss
Apple is one of the best fruits for weight loss. An apple diet detoxifies your body, boosts your metabolic rate and helps you lose weight. In terms of calorie intake, this diet is low caloric, counting 1000-1200 calories per day.
Cure for Beriberi disease
Beriberi was rampant in 1800s in England, a disease caused by thiamine – Vitamin B deficiency. There are two types of Beriberi disease, namely wet Beriberi.
Wet Beriberi affects the heart and circulatory system. Dry Beriberi damages the nerves and can lead to a loss of muscle strength and eventually muscle paralysis. This disease is life threatening if not treated.
The Allopathic doctors then did not have any clue as to how to treat this disease. One of the child patients of this disease showed a liking to apple, and more precisely apple peel. The doctor did not discourage the child from eating the apple skin. Over the next few month, the child showed remarkable recovery from Beriberi.
That is when doctor realized that some ingredient in Apple that made the difference, which on later examination and scientific study came to be recognized as Vitamin thiamine which helped in curing Beriberi disease of the phase of England in 1800s,
An apple a day Keeps Doctor Away
It was after this incident that the proverb “Apple A Day keeps the Doctor”, became popular.
The health benefits of an Apple is aptly brought by this proverb.
As per Ayurveda, it is only the cooked apple that keeps the doctor away. Raw apples can be cold and dry and is not easily digestible, particularly if un-skinned.
Ayurveda also says that chewing apple after a meal, regularizes our stomach, and helps in cleaning our teeth and tongue.
Apples are also used as medicine in Ayurveda, to stop dysentery and diarrhea.
Apple juices act as a brain and nerve tonic, and is a rejuvenator.
The interesting this to ponder here is that if Ayurveda, which is a 5000 year old science of good health, identifies and incorporates the goodness of an Apple, then how can we say that Apples made their Advent in India, only in the early part of the 20th century?
Apple Day has its origin in the United Kingdom. It is an annual celebration of Apples and orchards, held on October 21st. The events related to apple are however held throughout the month.
Apple day is a day to relish and understand the benefits of this fruit, and needs to be universally observed, and not just in England.