Poha, the popular breakfast dish started to dominate Twitter trends in India on Friday and it left many baffled online. The humble dish took social media by storm after BJP’s Kailash Vijayvargiya said that he suspected few labourers to be Bangladeshis as “they were eating only ‘poha’ (flattened rice)”.
The National General Secretary of the BJP said during the construction of a new room at his house recently, he found “eating habits” of some of the workers “strange” and thought they were Bangladeshis as “they were eating only `poha’ (flattened rice)”.
“I suspected these workers were residents of Bangladesh. Two days after I became suspicious, they stopped working at my house,” he added.
The statement quickly garnered a lot of attention online and got everyone talking. While most said Poha is a very popular breakfast dish and origin can be traced to Maharashtra, others argued it’s cheap and thus can be afforded by daily-wage labourers.
I wonder whether this man has heard of Krishna and Sudama …. and the story of the gift of poha. https://t.co/ZXV74PbayQ
— Harini Calamur (@Calamur@mastodon.social) (@calamur) January 24, 2020
Is Poha not indian ? https://t.co/7LTFH7aMor
— Devdutt Pattanaik (@devduttmyth) January 24, 2020
I literally eat only poha for breakfast. Guess I’m Bangladeshi too. https://t.co/Qjr4mwmW0Q
— अंशुल (@Ghair_Kanooni) January 24, 2020
If not Poha, what else you expect labourers to bring with them – Butter chicken?
— Ravinder Singh (@_RavinderSingh_) January 24, 2020
I am Punjabi and I am eating poha right now. Poha has nothing to do with Bangladesh 🙄 pic.twitter.com/eL6KgpQk36
— Sapna Madan ❄️Care4Animals❄️ (@sapnamadan) January 24, 2020
Poha is my comfort food. Tagore is my comfort read. Bangla is my comfort language. Guess I start searching for my papers asap. 🙄 https://t.co/OJRwaqHkTl
— Sasidharan Pazhoor (@inquestioner) January 24, 2020
Worst day of life. Baby is eating poha.
— Ashish K. Mishra (@akm1410) January 24, 2020
Learnt 2 things about food in the last few days:
1. Halwa is auspicious.
2. Poha is suspicious.
— PuNsTeR™ (@Pun_Starr) January 24, 2020
Only Jalebi Poha allowed hai for you be true Nationalist,
Only eating Poha is a sign of Bangladeshi, pic.twitter.com/uRQGVpfABR
— rajpathak (@rajpathak25) January 24, 2020
First Beef eaters were anti- nationals.
Now Poha eaters are anti- nationals.
At this rate everyone other dish other than Khichdi and Rajma Chawal will be under the scanner. https://t.co/zLrAwtZMcn
— Advaid (@Advaidism) January 24, 2020
Many Bengalis clarified that they don’t even call the dish Poha and it’s definitely not a staple breakfast food in the state. However, they said, maybe the BJP leader meant ‘chire’, the uncooked version of the flattened rice or ‘muri’ that is not only eaten by people in Bengal but in other states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam as well. Many wondered if speaking Bengali outside West Bengal will now be considered as Bangladeshi too. Others slammed him for being ignorant about Bengali culture and called it ironic that he is also a central observer for West Bengal.
Bangladeshis don’t even know about poha.he meant chirey.. and yes we bengalis eat chirey. Chirey ER pulav,I myself have had that a lot of time. But these foods represent the culture. Like poha represent Maharashtra, chirey for Bengal.Making such statement shows how stupid he is. https://t.co/E8ehSNKUn3
— Prasenjit Chakraborty (@PrasenjiTweets) January 24, 2020
Gotta be really dumb to see poha eating ppl and even remotely think that they could be Bengalis😂
— Samarpita Sharma 🇮🇳 (@BookLuster) January 24, 2020
Yesterday – anyone can be identified
by their clothes
Today – Bangladesis can be identified by eating Poha.
Tomorrow – Bangladesis can be identified by speaking Bengali.
The intention is clear “anti Bengali” https://t.co/qjQBu0xsF0
— dhruv banerjee (@banerjee_dhruv) January 24, 2020
For one there is a high possibility the people were eating ‘muri’ and not poha cause Poha isn’t even something Bengalis (even Indian Bengali’s) would have. Secondly, LITERALLY EVERY STATE IN INDIA HAS A SEPARATE FOOD HABIT, stop harassing poor people who are just trying to earn. https://t.co/5UC3H9Ebcs
— Sourya Banerjee (@JoeBanerjee) January 24, 2020
Chiire .. as in the bengali word for poha. Nutritious as a snack when washed and eaten with a little gur, but importantly, quickly prepared and filling as well. Nothing specifically bangladeshi about it. Its one of the breakfast staples in UP, Bihar, Bengal, Assam, NE, Orissa etc
— BrawlyPooch (@MeanderingWonk) January 24, 2020
I’m having dahi chire (poha) right now 😮
— PKR | প্রশান্ত | پرشانتو (@prasanto) January 24, 2020
Poha is not chida and Bengalis do not eat chida as staple food if there are other options. Probably Mr. Kailash has not arranged proper cooking facilities for them.
— Jaini /উজ্জয়িনী/ اجینی (@IchbinUjjaini) January 23, 2020
Bengalis be like – can’t speak our language outside Bengal without being called Bangladeshi, now we can’t even eat our chire in peace?
— S Roy Chowdhury (@SRoyChowdhury01) January 23, 2020
According to @BJP4India leader @KailashOnline someone who eat poha are Bangladeshi! Bengalis used to eat fried poha as snaks, poha with yogurt and sugar as meal and many more. Don’t have any idea about Bengalis eating habits day dreaming to rule WB! https://t.co/wk01gACxBU
— Rohit Majumder (@rohitkrmajumder) January 23, 2020
“I have not filed any police complaint yet. I only mentioned this incident to warn people,” he added.
Speaking at the seminar, Vijayvargiya also claimed that a Bangladeshi terrorist was keeping a watch on him for the last one and a half years.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines