A Short History of the Vada Pav

A Short History of the Vada Pav

When politics and street food gave birth to Mumbai's favourite snack

Saira Menezes
March 30 , 2017
Less than 1 Min Read

To think that Mumbai’s son-of-the-soil movement was given impetus by a 25-paise creation might be a bit of an exaggeration. Surely not, if it’s the truth. In the early 1970s,when the Shiv Sena, then a fledgling political force, was trying to instill pride in the Marathi manoos (men), one man set up a stall outside Western Railway’s Dadar Station, platform No. 1, and began selling batata vada. One day, he slipped a batata vada between a pav, tossed in a bit of green chilli and red chutney, and made history. Today, every street corner in Mumbai has a vada pav wallah. A corporate house has made a killing out of mass producing it. The Sena, which embraced the vada pav as one of its own, has grown from strength to strength, even ruling the state for a number of years. Their political fortunes have dipped with its split into the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. But the vada continues to reign as Snack No. 1.

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