Faba bean

Faba bean ( Vicia faba )

This crop apparently originated in West Asia, where its consumption as a food item is common, unlike in India where it never became popular. Most likely, it was introduced into India during the Sultanic period (1206–1555), during which its cultivation has been mentioned (Naqvi, 1984). Faba bean is called baqla in Persian and that is the name in Hindi today. Interestingly, while Dara Shikoh (c. 1650) mentions the word baqla in the Nuskha Dar Fanni-Falahat (Razia Akbar, 2000), the Ain-i- Akbari (c. 1590) calls it rajmaan, probably from rajmash, which is cowpea. Europeans living in India grew it as a garden crop (Watt, 1889).

The soil fertility enhancing property of faba bean has been mentioned in the Nuskha Dar Fanni- Falahat (Razia Akbar, 2000). Since no Sanskrit text that I have come across so far refers to the soil fertility enhancing property of pulses, I believe this knowledge came to us from West Asia.