Bhartiya Pan Supari

>> Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If the people of India had to pick something called a “Flavour of the nation”, I’d put my money on Pan Masala winning that tag! Of course there are the “maggies” and the “parle-G’s” but the connection between Paan masala’s and the masses in India is quite simply something else!

Everyone knows that smoking and tobacco kill, so what’s the next best option if you want to throw that ciggie away for life? Turn to Ghutka (pan masala with tobacco), pan masala and other substitutes which people think are less harmful? Common excuses for the shift – “it’s a mouth freshener and helps in digestion as well”, “it’s cheaper and causes no harm that a cigarette does”, and the best one that I heard from a young friend - “It’s tasty, I enjoy it and I don’t need another reason to have it?”!

A woman begging on the streets, teeth smeared with a reddish-brown colour, and a nice pouch rolled up with her sari where she stocks up her beetle leaves and pan masala. She looks so fragile that one would believe she hasn’t had a proper meal in days – familiar sight? Call it the love for the product or mere addiction – all the same! Bans on tobacco and pan masala advertising, pictures of charred lungs on the cover of cigarette packets are some sincere measures that surely seem to be going in vain.

A nice red abstract work of art on a sparkling white wall or a famous monument in the neighbourhood – another familiar sight? It’s the love for pan masala that Indians have and want to make sure the world knows it!
What then gets these tiny packets to sell like hot cakes? They are attractive for sure, hanging like colourful shiny sausage links in shops. But accessibility is the key formula I would like to believe – they are dirt cheap, they are everywhere and they are in all shapes and sizes – from red and green Christmas like candies (Baba pan masala candy) to tempt the children to fancy boxes that suit the classy businessmen. Tiny shops outside schools, offices and literally in the corner of every street makes the product available to absolutely everybody. Advertising is also huge for pan masala. The times of India had an interesting article of how 700 BEST buses in Mumbai display Pan Masala ads. When the public is influenced to such great levels, they lose the will to resist eventually.

In India, the consumption of paan masala and related products is more like a tradition. It’s the basis of some marriages as the legendary Pan Parag ad portrays it with the sparkle in the brides’ dad’s eyes when he looks at the Pan Parag container. Jingles like “Paan parag, pan masala”,”muh mein Rajnigandha” are evergreen melodies of Indian advertising. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I still sing along when I watch the ads on YouTube!
Personally, I am amazed at the number of brands there are for paan masalas in the Indian market today and they definitely deserve a showcase!

Pan Parag

The Choice of Young India

Pan Parag (Feat. Shammi Kapoor

Pan Vilas Pan Masala

Rajnigandha Pan Masala

Manikchand Pan Masala

Chandrakanta Pan Masala

Dum Pan Masala

Ganesh Pan Masala

Kamla Pasand Pan Masala

Kashmiri Chocolate Pan Masala

Kuber Pan Masala

Mahak Silver Pan Masala

Nikhar Pan Masala

Rajshree Pan Masala

Yatri Paan Masala

Ashiqui Pan Masala

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