West Bengal - The Rasgulla of India
One hundred years ago, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a prominent Indian freedom fighter and political guru of Gandhiji said “What Bengal thinks today, Rest of India will think tomorrow.” Truer words have never been said, ladies and gentlemen. In science, in literature, in patriotism, in almost every sphere of life, Bengal has always been at the forefront and has been India’s guiding light.
The revolutionary fire that had spread across India, the fire that eventually forced the Britishers to leave India, the first sparks of that very fire had originated right here, in Bengal. In an era when it was said that the sun never set in the British empire, sons of Bengal such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Rishi Aurobindo, Rashbehari Bose, Khudiram Bose shook the very foundations of the British rule in India. Bankim Chandra’s “Bande Ma Taram,” Tagore’s “Jana gana mana” and Nazrul Islam’s “Bidrohi” became songs not only of Bengal, but of the entire nation.
Bidroh, revolt, revolution… Revolution has always been a central tenet of Bengal’s philosophy. Revolution not just with arms, with might, with brute force but revolution of ideas and thoughts as well.
And thus was born in Bengal one of the greatst revolutionary thinkers INdia’s ever produced. A revolutionary thinker who single handedly changed the way the West viewed India with a mere speech. The monk who saw religion through the prism of science. Our motherland shall always be indebted to the land of Bengal for giving to the country Swami Vivekananda. He along with Ramkrishna Paramhans, Raja Rammohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar reformed, redefined and infact recreated Sanatan Dharma giving birth to the Bengali renaissance at the same time which went on to become the backbone of the Indian national movement.
And so as our train slowly chugs away from the glorious past towards the Howrah station of the present my eyes drink in the sights of rice fields basking in the sun. Waving coconut trees, dysfunctional trams and battered brick walls with political slogans smeared with red paint whip past the window. The mysticism of baul singers fades as the train leaves the countryside to enter the city giving way to the melodious Rabindra Sangeet.The warm air that you feel against your skin is not just laden with humidity, but also with strength power and divinity — which it derives from the Shakti tradition of Bengal owing to the blessings of Ma Durga.
Let me conclude by saying this that to me India is a thali, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the other, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast. I hope I did justice while describing deliciousness of the dessert in this Indian thali- the rasogulla i.e. the state of West Bengal.