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Ad with Rabindranath Tagore and Bengali Sweets Aired Before Ind-Ban Match Causes Controversy

Bengalis around the world areunhappy with the portrayal of Tagore and their favourite sweet dishes.

Jashodhara Mukherjee | News18.com

Updated:July 3, 2019, 3:46 PM IST
Ad with Rabindranath Tagore and Bengali Sweets Aired Before Ind-Ban Match Causes Controversy
Image credit: Reuters

ICC World Cup 2019 has not been without its fair share of drama and controversies.

Ahead of the India-Bangladesh match this World Cup season, it's interesting to note how Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore forms the common ground between the two nations that are battling it out on the field today. Here's the thing, histories of both the nations are so intricately linked, that it's almost impossible to draw barriers between the two.

Bengalis and Bangladeshis don't just share a border; culture, food, tastes, traditions and literature are just some of the many things we have in common.

This is precisely why an advertisement has resulted in outrage online. The ad shows veteran actor Manoj Pahwa eating food associated with the countries that India played against in the World Cup. For instance, a stickjaw toffee, typically found in England, was used before the last match.

Ahead of Tuesday's match, the ad that was aired showed Pahwa eating a "teel er nadu", which is a sweet dish most Bengalis are familiar with. The ad essentially suggests that "teel er nadu" is unique to Bangladesh.

The marketing guys probably did not realise that a harmless ad, intended for fun, would see the furor of so many Bengalis. No one warned them: Messing with a Bengali's favourite sweets or their idol (that is, Tagore) is equivalent to stirring the hornet's nest.

The ad also used a Tagore poem . The poem, "Brishti Pore Tapur Tupur" (it literally translates to "the rain falls pitter patter", is one of Tagore's most well-known compositions).

Now here's the thing, Rabindranath Tagore was not exactly a Bangladeshi poet. In fact, to solely call him a Bengali poet would be technically wrong. Case in point: Tagore had composed the National Anthems for both nations before Partition in 1947.

As a matter of fact, both Tagore and the sweetmeat are common to Indian Bengalis and Bangladeshi Bengalis. Naturally, this has angered Bengalis on both sides of the border, with many giving the company a history lesson and calling for a boycott.

However, while this may be reading a bit too much into one advertisement, Bengalis around the world are clearly unhappy with the portrayal of Tagore and their favourite sweet dishes.

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