By Madhulika Dash
It isn't the khichdi (or khecuri) bhog that is the big attraction of Durga Puja, it is also the interesting mélange of colonial food that holds centre stage- food wise at least!
A popular folklore credits Robert Clive to give Durga Puja its present grand form. According to the tale, after winning the Battle of Plassey, Clive wanted to thank the Lord. But with the last Church destroyed by Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah, the general eventually bowed and thanked Ma Durga. The architect of this feat was Clive’s interpreter and clerk, Zamindar Nabakrishna Deb. And that led to the grand status of Durga Puja which we see today.
Of course, over the years the story has been ratified and corrected, but there is no denying that the Raj did play a role, however little, in popularizing the ancient festival that was once limited to homes and close-knit community. But the British did a little more than that. In turning it grand, they also lend it some of its classic treats.
A few like these: