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Cover Story | Bengal/Hilsa

Fish Eye View: Hilsa Is Diplomacy Dipped In Mustard Sauce

Intertwined with West Bengal’s craze over the Padma Hilsa is the history and future of human migration into and from the Ganges Delta.

Fish Eye View: Hilsa Is Diplomacy Dipped In Mustard Sauce
Photograph: Arnab Biswas/Hilsa Researcher
Fish Eye View: Hilsa Is Diplomacy Dipped In Mustard Sauce
outlookindia.com
2021-10-29T15:49:31+05:30

Ilish machher tirish knata
Boal machher dari
Bhutto saheb bhikkha kore
Sheikh Mujib-er bari.

Roughly translated, the rhyme from 1971 means “The hilsa has 30 bones, the wallago catfish has a beard; Mr. Bhutto begs, in the backyard of Sheikh Mujib”. It taunts the then Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and spread like wildfire across East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), finding place in slogans, literature and graffiti, as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared war against West Pakistan, seeking to liberate his homeland.

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