Pan Culture in Pakistan

“Khayi k Paan Banaras Wala Khul Jaye Band Akal ka Tala”! As these lines depicts, Paan has something to do with sharpening of mind, but this is not the case. Paan has been an essential part of our cuisine since a long time. In case you are wondering how these lyrics fit to the effectiveness of Pan let us tell you how it is prepared.

Take a heart shaped Paan leaf put some katha, chalia, soonf, supari, tobacco roll it over and fold it. Open your mouth and explore the traditional Paan flavor that takes you to a new world completely. Healthy ingredients aren’t it? Paan eating culture draws its evolution since ancient times when Paan was served to Rajas, Maharajas, and even our very own Mughals after meals. Paan has deep cultural roots that still prevail in our culture strongly.

The fact is that not everything that we have received from our ancestors is beneficial. The attractive aroma of Paan draws the attention of millions who are unaware of the disastrous health hazards attached to it. In this article we will explore the culture of Paan eating that prevails in our society, and the health hazards associated with it.

Paan Culture in Pakistan

It’s not the children but the elders of our country that believes in Paan eating more than anyone else. Paan eating is followed religiously by our Nani’s and Dadi’s who keeps a silver Paan ka dabba with them all the time. Paan business in Pakistan is run and managed by Memon traders, hailing from western India and migrated to Pakistan after partition. The Memon and Muhajir families are known for consuming numerous numbers of Paans in a day. However, it is an occasional delight for many who buy it from street vendors. The culture of Paan chewing has gained influence in Punjab where a Paan shop can be found in every street. The famous Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore possesses an entire street called “Paan Gali” dedicated for Paan lovers. Who can miss out the traditionally decorated Paan Shop in F-8 Islamabad! Visit the shop and you will witness Mughal style pitchers, paintings, flowers, and pan maker wearing traditional dress. One can definitely expect Shah Jahan to walk out and offer you Paan.


Paan Spitting – A menace to the society

Many a times you have witnesses the red spitted Paan on roads, bus stops, government hospitals, walls and where not! Undoubtedly, spitting Paan on public places has been polluting our country since a long time. It is heart breaking to see cultured and civilized people spitting paan anywhere they want to. This habit has grown to menace as our streets, roads, corners have turned red. There has been no effective action taken against those involved in this pollution and therefore this has grown to an unstoppable issue.


Health Hazards Associated with Paan

There is no doubt about the fact that Paan has been polluting our lives. The irony is that most of us are unaware of the health hazards the pan carries with it. According to the report by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Health Organization (WHO) there are clear evidences of the fact that chewing betel and paan eating is carcinogenic to humans. Chewing paan, gutka, aur chalia increases the risk of oral cancer. People who are habitual of Paan should try to stop consuming it immediately.


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