মশলার ইতিহাস: The Spice Trail

মশলার বাণিজ্য এক সময় নিয়ন্ত্রন করতো আরব বনিকরা। সেই আধিপাত্য ভাঙ্গতেই একদিন মশলার খোজে ইউরোপীয়রা জাহাজ ভাসিয়েছিল সমুদ্রে। ৩৭ বছর বয়সী ভাস্কো ডা গামা সেই মশলার খোজেই একদিন কেরালার মালাবার উপকুলে এসে নামেন। এর পর মশলার বানিজ্য পৃথিবীর মানচিত্র বদলে দিয়েছিল চিরকালের মত। আজ যেমন তেল, একসময় মশলাই ছিল বানিজ্যের কেন্দ্রে।  বিবিসি টু এর এই তিন পর্বের এই প্রামান্য চিত্রে ১৫ শ শতকের ইউরোপীয় অভিযাত্রীদের পথ অনুসরণ করে মশলা সংগ্রহের সেই অসাধারন ইতিহাসকে বর্তমানের আবহে উপস্থাপন করেছেন কেট হাম্বল। যারা ইতিহাস ভালোবাসেন এবং আধুনিক মানব সভ্যতার ইতিহাসের সাথে মশলার যোগাযোগ নিয়ে এই প্রামান্য চিত্রগুলো তাদের ভালো লাগবে।

প্রথম পর্ব | The Spice Trail: Pepper and Cinnamon

Kate Humble retraces the steps of 15th-century explorers as she sets out on a spice trail that takes her to India and Sri Lanka, the birthplaces of pepper and cinnamon. She begins her travels on India’s ‘Spice Coast’, where she uncovers the story of pepper, once known as black gold and now the most consumed spice in the world. She does the pepper dance to shake the berries from their stalk, meets farmers fighting back against a disease that is devastating pepper crops, and is taught the centuries-old secret language still used by the traders who wheel and deal in the spice. From India, Kate heads south to Sri Lanka, the land of cinnamon – a place shrouded in mystery to Europeans until the Portugese accidentally landed on its shores. She attends the spectacular Buddhist festival, or Perahara, which celebrates local resistance to the invaders, and takes part in the delicate process of harvesting the spice and making a cinnamon quill. Finally, she witnesses the crucial make-or-break negotiations of local farmers trying to sell their crops ( BBC Two website).

দ্বিতীয় পর্ব | The Spice Trail – Nutmeg and Cloves

Kate Humble embarks on a journey around the fabled spice islands of eastern Indonesia in search of two spices that launched epic voyages of discovery, caused bloody wars and shaped empires – nutmeg and cloves. These two spices, grown on an archipelago of tiny volcanic islands, drew European explorers in search of unbelievable wealth, but also led to massacres of local people and the decimation of their culture. Kate meets the people who have rebuilt their lives and communities around the cultivation and trade of nutmeg and cloves, takes her place on one of the fastest produciton lines in the world, and discovers how the battle for these two spices led to the beginning of the British Empire in North America ( BBC Two website).

তৃতীয় পর্ব | The Spice Trail – ‍Saffron and Vanilla 

Kate Humble’s journey takes her from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to the plains of Spain as she uncovers the story of the world’s most expensive spice, saffron, before crossing the Atlantic to Mexico in search of vanilla, a spice discovered by the famous Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. In the Atlas Mountains, October is saffron harvest month for the Berber people. Kate joins local saffron farmer Ahmed and his family to harvest their crop and visits a stunning store house carved into the mountainside. Worth 4,000 pounds a kilo, saffron is also known as red gold and inspires countless imitations. In Spain, Kate turns detective as she joins a blind tasting to sort out genuine saffron from the fakes and meets a man who tests its DNA in order to make sure it’s genuine. The Berbers of Morocco took saffron to Spain in the Muslim conquest of the 8th century, and 800 years later it was an ambitious Spaniard that brought us the next exotic taste, vanilla. It’s now so widespread that it has become the world’s most popular ice-cream flavour. Kate journeys to Paplanta in Mexico, the birthplace of vanilla, to meet the Totonac – the original guardian of the spice. She witnesses a spectacular death-defying fertility dance and meets the people determined to keep Mexican vanilla alive in the face of the massive competition from other producers.( BBC Two website).

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মশলার ইতিহাস: The Spice Trail

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