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Republic Day and Indian food: Chefs explain the connection

  • By Madhulika Dash

    This Republic Day, we ask chefs the dish that they consider to be the best interpretation of the idea of being republic – and the answers are surprising.

    What has the Republic Day got to do with food? Is it our attempt to pull food into yet another political idea? Or is there some connection indeed?

    If those were the lines that got you to this piece, then let’s tell you: that kind of confusion is called for. After all, it was these churning questions that made us reach to some of the finest culinary hands in the country to seek what they thought of the Republic-food connect. And like we suspected, like always back in time when food has played a definite part in the making of history – the idea of Republic too evolved around food.

    Take the case of Biryani: A dish made to feed the soldiers afoot a conquest, it rose to become India’s finest representative to the world and a famous diplomatic tool for many an alliance and association. Another example is of the iconic vada pav that was designed to serve as a quick lunch to Mill workers, finally was elevated to symbolize the philosophy of the aam Marathi manus, thanks to legendary Bal Thackeray who made it a must-have in all his meetings. And recently, the famous khichdi, which bought people together to vocalize their own candidate for the National Dish.

    So as India enters into its 69th year of being a Republic nation, we ask them to give us that one dish that is the best interpretation of their idea of Republic.