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FIFA U-17 World Cup: West Bengal Govt to connect football & Durga Puja ahead of WC through fish

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265   //    14 Sep 2017, 14:58 IST

The Hilsa fish is a symbol of East Bengal
The Hilsa fish is a symbol of East Bengal

What's the story?

It is no secret that Bengalis and fishes are almost synonyms. If you are thinking about the Bongs then the first thing that would come to your mind is fish. After fish, the two other things would be Durga Puja and football. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to celebrate the upcoming Durga Puja and FIFA U-17 World Cup with different kinds of fishes. 

West Bengal government is setting up stalls selling fish delicacies themed around the three major clubs in Indian football - East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting. The state fisheries department during the five days of the pujas will set up at least 20 stalls across the state.

The context

Football has been a great love for Kolkatans and if you add Durga Puja to it then it becomes the deadly combo for people in Kolkata. The state fisheries department during the five days of the pujas will set up at least 20 stalls. Durga Puja is starting from 26th September and will get over on 30th and the U-17 World Cup kicks off on 6th October.

It is understood that in this Durga Puja, Bongs will be busy discussing football more than anything else. Along with this, if they can taste the best of fishes then it will be a Durga Puja to remember for all of them. The city of joy will host 10 matches of the tournament including the final on October 28th.

Both Durga Puja and football trigger passions for Bengal and the chief minister wants a connection between the two during the days of the festival. The ambience of the stalls and the food items served will reflect soccer during the days of the festival,” said fisheries minister Chandranath Singha, as quoted by Hindustan Times.

The heart of the matter

According to Singha, the East Bengal Section will feature a number of hilsa delicacies such as mustard hilsa, smoked hilsa, hilsa in poppy seed, fried hilsa, pickled hilsa and hilsa egg curry. These items will surely bring back the authentic flavours of erstwhile East Bengal (Now Bangladesh).

On the other hand, the Mohun Bagan section will have items such as prawn malai curry, prawn gravy, fried prawn, fried shrimp, pickled shrimp, shrimp with gourd and shrimp-kochu (taro) sag curry, among others. These items have been traditionally associated with the part of West Bengal that is the support base of Mohun Bagan.

Mohammedan Sporting are traditionally associated with Mughlai food and it is very difficult to serve Mughlai food without meat. But, Singha said that in this case dishes like hilsa biriyani, fish kebabs and fish tikka will taste better than meats.

What's next?

This amalgamation of fish and football will certainly be a new experience for Bongs and it has also brought smiles to the major clubs of the city. The FIFA U-17 World Cup is going to be one of the greatest extravaganzas the country has ever seen. Durga Puja is another great festival and in between, the touch of fishes will make things better without a doubt. With a fish in hand during Durga Puja and talking about a football World Cup in Kolkata is a dream for any Bengali.

Author's take:

When you are talking football in Bengal, there isn’t anything beyond these three clubs. Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and Mohammedan Sporting are the heartbeats of the city. The people of Bengal may have different political alignments but in matters of football, they will be a supporter of one of these three. I must say that it is a great initiative by our very own Mamata didi.

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