Tea to be India's national drink
India is to declare tea as its national drink to celebrate the life of a pioneering tea-planter who was hanged by British colonial rulers for taking part in the rebellion of 1857.
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Saturday announced the decision while on a visit to Assam, the tea-producing northeastern state that borders on Bhutan and Bangladesh.
"The drink would be accorded national drink status by April 17 next year to coincide with the 212th birth anniversary of first Assamese tea-planter and Sepoy Mutiny leader Maniram Dewan," Ahluwalia said.
The Asian Age reported that awarding tea the status of national drink may stir up trouble among "naturopaths" who suggest popular Indian beverages such as coconut water, lemon water and yoghurt-based lassi are healthier options.
Tea is generally served in India with milk and plenty of sugar, and often spiced with cardamom.
Coffee, which is grown in the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, is becoming rapidly more popular among young urban Indians.