If a Bengali is asked for a list of their favourite delicacies, presumably biryani would figure very high up in that list. Be it mutton or chicken, Hyderabadi or Kolkata, biryani is an all-time hit with most people in the City of Joy. And now, this much-loved dish has taken on its special lockdown form.
The Forward Bloc, one of the biggest Left-wing political parties in West Bengal and a member of the erstwhile Left Front, is serving free biryani to the underprivileged people of the city. The party is reportedly serving biryani to over 500 people daily in three wards — 28, 29 and 30.
This initiative, undertaken by a group of party cadres called the ‘Azad Hind volunteers’, kicked off on June 22, which is the 82nd Foundation anniversary of the Forward Bloc.
Sudip Bandopadhyay, party administrator at the Kolkata district level, said, “The lockdown has proved to be difficult for most people. While some people have had to deal with less income, others have lost their jobs altogether. These people have nowhere to go. They risk getting infected by coronavirus if they venture out of their homes; and if they choose to stay in, then they risk starvation. That’s why we have undertaken this initiative.”
But why biryani? “Well, biryani is a one-pot dish which can be prepared and served to people within a very less time period, and people of Kolkata love it,” replies Bandopadhyay. “Therefore, we didn’t think of anything else.”
The biryani has been termed by the local people as the ‘special lockdown biryani’. Why so? According to leaders, varying kinds of meat are used in the biryani on different days. On some days it’s mutton, on others chicken or egg-all depending upon what can be arranged for the day. Therefore the local people have lovingly named it the ‘lockdown special biryani’.