Red Gold – Apple
Shimla is a town, hill station and capital of state Himachal Pradesh, India. One fruit has changed the life of people in the state of Shimla. Earlier native people were poor and worked in the fields to fed their children and themselves by harvesting Capsicum, Peas, Potatoes and various other vegetables. But apple brought from America in 1920, grown by Samuel Evans Stokes proved a boon and brought prosperity for the people of the state. Earlier people had to wake up early in the morning and keep working all day long to grow crops in the fields. Having done lot of hard work in sun and rain they fed their families. Life was hard and harsh for them as the roads were not developed then. No doubt despite of this hardship they were happy and content but money was still needed for daily needs. Living in their wooden built houses without having modern facility like water supply, gas electricity – they had to face daily hardships.
The revolution of this red fruit has changed the economic condition of native people and the state. Apples from Shimla are grown in abundance and sold all over the country and abroad. People earn millions of rupees and have built strong big concrete houses (wooden houses now are being replaced by concrete houses because people gain so much money by selling apples) equipped with all modern furniture and household materials.
It is not easy to have production of juicy apple in abundance. Apple tree requires special attention and hard work throughout the year as it needs manure and medicines which are important for the growth of healthy plant. They have to be taken are as parents take care of their children. Good fertile, drained soil and water play an important role for the optimum growth of apple tree.
The area of Shimla and nearby town likes Kotkhai, Jubble, Rohru, Rampur are large producing apple town. They have become so prosperous that they have their children studied in colleges of cities where fee for education is quite high. During the apple season ladies like to buy gold for themselves and daughters, while youth like to spend money on the world’s most expensive branded shoes like Adidas, Nike, Woodland etc and on branded clothes from Cities like Shimla, Delhi and Chandigarh- famous for branded clothes.
Once native people employed themselves for work of apples but now they employee to take care of apple orchard. Their work is to sprinkle medicine on apple trees and feed manures to tree’s roots. Apple season starts for May and lasts till September. It also gives employment to labors as they are required to pluck apples from trees, then pack them in boxes and carry to trucks. Even labor earns a lot during apple season.
People from other parts of the state feel proud to get their daughters married in area of Shimla. During fair and festivals, which in cultural part of native people, they like to spend a lot of money earned form selling apple production, on shopping for marriage functions, local fairs, function and festivals. Almost each house in the Shimla region has a personal vehicle.
Private industries are less in this area of Shimla. People like to prefer Governments jobs. There was a time when people had started leaving even Government job, because people would get more money in harvesting apple production. Locals have starting doing their own businesses. Some of them have started investing money in buying properties i.e. lands, flats, houses and in Gold.
People are often heard saying, “Money is grown on tress in Shimla”. In Shimla apples are also known as red gold.