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If you happen to know a Bengali – or are one – you would know of their love, rather passion for food. Bengalis love their food and a visit to any food joint in their company will convince you of it, in case you have any doubts. It is no surprise then that there are several YouTube channels and blogs dedicated to Kolkata – the city that boasts of being Bengali street food heaven, and one such is Bong Eats which, as the name suggests, documents the food of Kolkata.
With Durga Puja, one of the biggest festivals for the Bengalis, just around the corner, the YouTube channel recently featured Kolkata’s most celebrated street food – the egg roll, which was well-received by many. However, soon the “harmless egg roll video” received some severe backlash from some who consider eating non-vegetarian fare during the holy week of Navratris unacceptable, turning the comments section of the video into a virtual battlefield.
It took one user on the video to comment that Bengal is the only place which “feasts” while the other part of India fasts during Navratri, and it soon snowballed into a debate about Bengali’s supposed lack of control. And it did not end here. Soon others joined in and called out Bengalis on their supposed pride and cultural superiority.
Here are some of the comments.
The channel did try to make some peace
But it clearly did not help.
And things went from bad to worse, as others joined in.
When some “Bengalis” joined in to defend, it was met by snide and malicious comments.
And things became murkier.
The intensity of the attack has clearly rattled Saptarshi Chakraborty, one of the co-founders of the YouTube channel. Speaking to indianexpress.com he said, “Insiya and I created Bong Eats to document the food of Calcutta, which reflects its cosmopolitan nature. It isn’t just Hindu Bengali food. In Calcutta we have a roll for everyone.”
He also addressed the issue in his blog and wrote about the hatred spewed on Bengalis and Bengal, and the increasing intolerant attitude of some towards other people’s opinion and cultural practices. Expressing shock at the racist attack on a harmless video, he wrote, “We, as well as other people in India who do not speak Hindi and have religious rituals and culture different from the mainstream North Indian Hindus, have always been looked at with a mixture of suspicion and contempt.”
In the light of the recent sad turn of events, Chakraborty did not hold back and wrote, “With the government mercilessly shoving one particular brand of militant Hinduism down the orifices of every Indian citizen, the cowards, the ignorant, and the anti-intellectuals are creeping out of the holes in the ground and becoming the voice of the nation.” And finally opining on the carnival that is Durga Puja the vlogger concluded, “Our mother is not a submissive cow! She is a fire-spewing, demon-killing, badass woman who knows how to have fun.”