The ‘Harar’ tree or the ‘Haritaki’ (Terminalia Chebula or Chebule Myrobalan) is a medium-sized deciduous tree that grows to a height of 100 feet. The trunk is grayish-brown in colour, the leaves are glossy green with tiny silver hair. The tree is known for its elliptical fruit ‘haritaki’ which is over an inch long. The haritaki nuts (fruits) are green in colour and turn blackish on ripening. The tree grows well in the clay of Morni and requires ample sunlight. It bears fruit between November and February and remains leafless from February to early spring in April. The fruit is handpicked when still green. The seeds are yellowish-brown and ribbed when dry. The tree blooms in between April and August with pale yellow flowers that have an offensive aroma.
Harar is of immense medicinal value in the Ayurveda system of medicine and its fruit is used as a laxative, an astringent, an expectorant and even for treating malignant tumours.
The Morni hill ilaqa has always been known for its wealth of Harar trees especially in the areas of Bhoj Naggal and Bhoj Mataur. The Second Revised Settlement (1915-20) of the Ambala District included a census of Harar trees. There were 1363 trees cultivated by farmers in the fields of Bhoj Naggal and 689 harar trees grew wild in the jungle. There were 35 cultivated trees in Bhoj Mataur and 320 jungle trees. While calculating the annual revenue demand from the Mir for the jagir of Morni, the cultivated Harar tree was assessed at 4 Annas and the jungle tree was assessed at 3 Annas. The cultivated Harar trees growing in Mauza (hamlet) Hatiya, Bhoj Naggal were of exceptional quality and were assessed at 5 Annas per tree. The British thus made an annual demand of Rs. 557 from the Mir on account of the Harar trees alone! The annual revenue demand for the entire Morni ilaqa was fixed at Rs. 8726 after the Settlement of 1920. This translated to 872 £ in 1920 (as 1 £ equalled 10 Indian Rupees in 1920). This would be equivalent to 40,000 £ or 3.5 million rupees in today’s terms! The Harar trees were assessed at nearly 2.5 lac rupees annually (in today’s terms).
- Second Revised Settlement of Ambala (1915-20); R.B. Whitehead
- Morni Assessment Report, 1919; J.G. Beazley