Feb. 27: Mamata Banerjee has said several times that she is “rough and tough”. The tough talk notwithstanding, her name does sell sweets called “mishti mukh”.
Yes, there is a sweet called Mamata mishti mukh. Like its inspiration, it’s not an ordinary orb.
It is a 500gm sphere — more than 25 times the weight of a regular rosogolla — selling at the annual Jalpesh Temple mela in Mainaguri.
However, if Mamata’s sweet-connect is tracked, the 500gm sweet is not the biggest that was made in her honour.
A 12kg chhana bora was made by a Behrampore sweetmaker in 2012 in Didi’s honour. Followers of political leaders in the country like to say it with sweets. Many mounds of laddoos are used to weigh against politicians. The higher the weight of laddoos placed on the scale, the more heavyweight, literally and otherwise, the politician is considered.
At Mainaguri, 20km from Jalpaiguri town, sweet-seller Tanmoy Bhattacharya came up with the idea of making and naming a sweet after Mamata, and a langcha — also weighing 500gm — after her party Trinamul.
The Ghash Phool langcha and the Mamata Mishti Mukh are a sugar-dripping salute to the Trinamul government is for taking the initiative to improve infrastructure on the temple premises and in nearby areas, which has led to a better mela this year. The sweets are selling fast from Bhattacharya’s shop at the fair.
“There has been a change of power in the state in 2011 and since then, we have seen several development works on the Jalpesh temple premises by the north Bengal development department,” Bhattacharya said.
The temple witnesses an assembly of lakhs of devotees during Shivratri, which is today. A three-week fair is held and many eatery stalls sprout on the temple complex on Shivratri. The fair goes on till Holi. The temple’s principal deity is Shiva.
“We came up with the idea of making and selling these two sweets, each piece weighing 500gm with names of our chief minister and her party symbol,” Bhattacharya said.
“It is a small attempt by a businessman like me who is based in Jalpesh in appreciation for the initiatives taken by Mamata Banerjee’s government to improve infrastructure and promote this religious site of north Bengal. We request the north Bengal development minister to visit and taste the sweets,” Bhattacharya said.
Several visitors and pilgrims, who were at the Jalpesh temple today to offer puja, bought the sweets.
“Every year, thousands of people visit the temple but even a couple of years back, we did not had the infrastructure for the pilgrims. There was not even a drinking water facility. After the new government came, separate paved tracks for men and women pilgrims leading to the temple were made. Seven CCTVs were installed on the premises,” said Girendranath Deb, the secretary of Jalpesh Mela Committee.
The state has also built an eight-room rest house, installed drinking water facilities, built a shed for pilgrims and has relaid the road leading to the temple.
“It is natural that local businessmen who have witnessed the changes have thought of naming sweets after the chief minister and the party,” said Subhash Bose, the sabhapati of Mainaguri panchayat samiti.
Subhakanto Deb, who came to Jalpesh today with wife Suva from Calcutta, said he has been visiting the temple for over 30 years.
“A lot has changed in the temple. It is good to see the new rest house where people can stay overnight or take rest at the rest shed for some hours. We have also heard about the new sweets which are being sold. Such interesting names. We want to taste those. We will also pack some to take back to Calcutta,” Deb said.
Gautam Deb, whose ministry did most of the facelift for the temple, was asked about the sweets.
The minister, who was on his way to Malda, said: “These are definitely unique names for the sweets. But it proves that people from different walks of life have seen the development that our government is doing throughout north Bengal.”
Asked if he would taste the sweets, Gautam Deb said: “The fair would continue for some more days. If I can make time, I will visit the fair.”
The fair was opened by Mahendra Roy, the CPM MP of Jalpaiguri, but he did not take a bite of either sweet.