Ever wondered why a traitor is called a Namak Haram… salt is something that’s worth 5/- a kg and even if someone robs me with a 8 tonne truck load of salt, its worth just 40,000 INR (<1000 USD).
However going through the following references about salt, I realized that not so long ago, the purchasing power of the citizens was measured in their capacity to consume salt.
The origin of the word salary is salarium which means salt. The soldier comes from the Latin word sal dare (to give salt). In Japanese history, I could find this text which highlighted the importance and value of salt in the economy.
Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen were to models of the Samurai ideal of honor. Though
mortal enemies, they respected each other. The most famous example of this is when Takeda ran
out of salt. Since Takeda’s lands did not border the sea like most other Daimyo, Takeda’s salt
suppliers, who were rival Daimyo, decided to take away his supply. The situation in Takeda’s
domain became grave, when the news of a salt shipment arrived. Uesugi, who’s lands bordered the
sea had sent lots of salt along with a letter from Uesugi to Takeda. The letter said, “I fight
you, but I fight with bow and arrow, not with rice and salt (Sato 221).” This shows the honor
these two men showed despite being enemies.
This essay is an extremely detailed account of the history of salt in Europe
2 replies on “Tune mera namak khaya hai”
I knew salary comes from salt, but never thought ‘Namak Haram’ had the same origin! 🙂
[…] I had earlier written an article highlighting the importance of salt in all the cultures worldwide. http://enagar.com/2008/11/08/tune-mera-namak-khaya-hai/ . The family size was larger because there were more children and parents/grandparents were also […]