The announcement that Kolkata-born Abhijit Banerjee would be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kramer for their work in development economics, send ripples of joy across the country. This was a proud moment. Especially for the Bengalis. They were soon sending out celebratory tweets, figuring out some connection that they have with Banerjee and telling the world that five Indians who had won the Nobel earlier were associated with Kolkata.
Soon, Facebook and Twitter feeds were flooded with posts which hailed the "intellectual superiority of Bengalis". Like everything else, it soon turned into a competition of I-am-better-than-you. And, well, food.
On Tuesday, a Twitter user named Arpana posted a tweet directed at "dhokla eaters" or Gujaratis. Her tweet claimed that Bengalis are superior to Gujaratis. On what grounds? We do not know.
Dear Dhoklaeaters We gave you: 6 Nobels 1 Oscar for Lifetime Achievement National Anthem Vande Mataram We eat fish and motton. Beef and pork. Keep your Dhokla, Khandvi & thepla away from us. GET OUT. — Aparna (@chhuti_is) October 15, 2019
If you are wondering what food has to do with Nobel prize, well, welcome to the bizarre world of India's Internet. Labelling Gujaratis as "dhokla eaters" is practically the same as stereotyping all Bengalis as fish eaters, but this wasn't about logic anyway.
Without a doubt, Gujaratis came all guns blazing. The tweet soon became the butt of jokes, with several people calling her out for discrimination on regional grounds.
Those who are making fun of Dhokla, they should also know that 4 of 5 richest Indians are Gujaratis. All hail to #Dhokla eaters!! pic.twitter.com/uM1nxiKBht — Prakruti (प्रकृति) (@PrakrutiTweets) October 15, 2019
Eat whatever you want, but please don't hate your fellow Indians! — ⵢⴷⵍⵎⴼⵇⲦ Ɒⵏⳓⴼⵇ (@sanchetd) October 15, 2019
Gandhi was a Gujarathi too. I don’t think it’s a good idea to generalize all the Gujarathis and tag them song modi and shah. — Santosh Addagulla (@santoshspeed) October 15, 2019
Honestly though, why this animosity towards dhokla or even dhokla eaters? While the former is sumptuous, can thereby safely identify with the latter. — Pinaki Banerjee (@pinakizzz) October 15, 2019
Then again, that's the problem with social media, right? A tweet never remains just a tweet; for the most of Tuesday, "dhokla" and "fish" remained the top trends on Twitter. It is, as a matter of fact, quite amusing to read through the tweets and the zest and conviction with which Bengalis and Gujaratis are defending their respective cuisines!
Of course, there were some who preferred to sit on the sidelines (perhaps with popcorn, ermm.. dhokla? roshogolla?) and watch as the drama unfolded.
A Chhole Bhature lover watching a heated debate between Dhokla lover and Fish lover.. pic.twitter.com/NXlGSqcYTC — Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) October 15, 2019
Okay, so one side is saying Dhokla has given us great leaders & businessmen. Other side is saying Fish has given great scientists & intellectuals. I have only thing to say - Dosa has given us Rajinikanth. — Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) October 15, 2019
It’s bong vs Gujarati on my TL, and I like mishti doi, chamcham and Dhokla and Thepla too .. — Exsecular 2.0 🇮🇳 (@ExSecular) October 15, 2019
I'll take delicious dhokla over stinky fish — 🌹 (@sonpampdi) October 15, 2019
Most Bengali food is actually borrowed from odisha 😂 — Nikunja (@pinku30855) October 15, 2019
I love Indian Twitter. A Nobel Prize for Economics has become a battle between vegetarians and non vegetarians. Sadly, there is no Nobel Prize for idiocy. Now go eat a dhokla or a dimsum - neither will give you a brain. It is not in their job description. — Naomi Datta (@nowme_datta) October 15, 2019
Dhokla vs fish ? Rt , comment and vote it ... Let's see it — ꧁✶∞ ₮ⱧɆ ₩₳ⱠⱠ ∞✶꧂ (@mitesh329) October 15, 2019
We are only wondering what Banerjee, the Noble laureate would have to say about the food war he has waged in the country.