Bangladesh Zeitgeist Watch: The Rise of the Aloo

Dhaka Shohor

Dhaka Shohor

Lying there, half-immersed in curry sauce, ignored by those looking for meat, the aloo has been a much-neglected vegetable indeed. Until now that is. The Knight of the Order of the Aloo rode in on horseback, his armour – polished by the spittle of a thousand supporters – shining in the deltaic sun! All to save the aloo from the ignominy of being made bhorta. The aloo is indeed redeemed, for chefs at five-star hotels now covet it. The Knight is vindicated, and we admire his courage for mixing himself up with such a funny vegetable.

Without further ado (aloo), below I list some things I expect to witness in the coming months, and fondly contemplate how the aloo mania is affecting my favourite advisor ever. Just remember: aloo must be consumed ALONGSIDE rice, not INSTEAD of it, as any number of recent op-eds in the Pravda can attest.

Mohammad Ashraful (speaking English WHEN HE COULD BE SPEAKING HIS OWN MOTHER TONGUE!): We eat rice and lose all the time. From now, we eat aloo and win!

Robi Thakoor (back from the grave, beard longer than ever): I made a spelling mistake in one of my songs. It should have been “Aloo amar, aloo ogo, alooy bhubon bhora, aloo jokhon bhorta, tokhon alooy petta bhora.”

Naimul Islam Khan (writing yet another egotistical editorial): Aaj thekey Amader Shomoyer naam bodliye amra holam Aloor Shomoy, eengrejite ja daray the Age of the Aloo. Ami jani pathokra ei cheyechilo. Ami jani.

Matiur Rahman (not to be outdone): Aloor Shomoy kono potrika holo? Oita to puro goyendader hathey. Tar thekey apnara aaj thekey Prothom Aloo porun. Amra shecchay aloo khai.

The Tagore-Protection Committee (open letter to various newspapers): We, patriotic aloo-eaters that we are, strongly protest recent attempts made on certain blogs to parody Tagore’s lyrics. We condemn this dhakashohor chhokra in the strongest terms and hope he does not get his aloo tonight.

Mainul Hosein (unemployed, breakfast: aloor dom): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Hasan Mashud Chowdhury: The potato’s meteoric rise is very suspicious. I think amader uchit hobey ekti case thookey dawa, jaatey remandey niye alooke ektu bhorta kora jay.

Daily Star’s Crown Jewel’s filed report: The Potato’s meteoric rise has come under the scrutiny of the ACC. The Potato’s activities are known in every corner of the country. The Potato is rumoured to have established a shady presence in a few flats, a few cars, a few companies, a few restaurants and a few television channels, all in an illegal manner as far as I know. And I didn’t try looking too hard, just used my access to government officials without trying to get independent confirmation of the aloor bhaji they fed me.

Wait – Breaking News: Potato found to be none other than our very own “aloo”, favoured by Knights on Horseback. Case dismissed! No suspicion on the aloo ever. No, we don’t apologise.

Mainul Hosein (unhinged, lunch: aloo bhaji): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Delwar Hossain Saidee: Aloo is halal. Not just halal, but the most Islamic of foods. From Saladin to Jinnah, they have all endorsed the aloo as “Islamic”. That is all that matters to Believers like me. It is also easily proven that the Ihudi-Nasra-Hindu-Nasteek Buddhijibi-Indian Thread Makers-Venusian Sith Lords Chokro have never spoken well of the aloo.

Shahriar Kabir: Aloo khetey ami raaji, but we must ask, is this Secular aloo? If the farmer prays for a good harvest, then surely that aloo cannot be Secular. Also, I heard Delwar Hossain Saidee praising the aloo, so surely…

Saidee (the next day): Aloo is haram from today. Nasteek buddhijibira aloo khetey raaji!

Dan Quayle (hand-written statement): I wish Bangladeshies the best in their ongoing adventure to harness the awesome power of potatos.

Mainul Hosein (approaching senility, dinner: aloo bhorta) : Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Forhad Mazhar: Porashoktir ekta slang term ache, “couch potato”, maaney sharadin sofay boshey boshey, aloor chips kheye kheye jara aloor moto dekhtey hoye jay. Jemon hoyechey dhakashohor namok ak bhojonbilashi, olosh-prokritir shamrajyobadi-blogger! Chee chee. Aantorjatik o aancholik porashokti ei chay: tader bohujaatik company gulo diye amader aloo khaiye khaiye couch potato banatey. Shabdhan!

Pinak Ranjan Chakrovorty: Bangladesh could learn a lot from India on how to make your aloos secular and your aloor dum more tasty.

Mahmudur Rahman (writing in Naya Diganta): This sort of comment on our aloo and our aloor dum is nothing short of a Breach of our Sharbobhoumotyo! Amader aloo ar aloor dom ke opomaan korechey bharoter rashtrodoot. Er pichoney nishchoi amader sushilder haath achey, tara aloo na kheye polao korma kheto eto din. This is the Greatest National Crisis Ever (GNCE) to hit us since India tried to make us a “captive market”, and look how well my Jatiyotabadi government dealt with THAT! Ei sorkar eishob meney nay ki korey?

Patricia “Beauty Apa” Butenis: We will welcome your aloos in Iraq. We will make freedom fries out of them.

Abul Barakat (yet another roundtable): Hawa Bhaban stole 64 billion MT worth of aloos. In one night. Just from my dinner table alone. God knows how much more aloo they stole from the entire country and deposited in Switzerland! I know for a fact that the Swiss have been switching from cheese to aloo fondue not just because it is cheaper, but obviously more fun to do. (groan away!)

Syed Badrul Ahsan (weekly column in DS): April is the cruelest month, breeding aloos from the dead land. Yes, indeed the land is dead, for its people have failed to acknowledge that it was Bangabandhu and NO ONE ELSE who came up with this grand plan to eat aloos!

Mainul Hosein (sleeping, pillow: aloor bosta): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

Hossain Zillur Rahman, (PhD): Sorkar ekti notun udyog niyechey. SMS korun amar phoney, ebong ami apnader ek bosta aloo pathiye debo. Rice via OMS chilo political solution, riddled with corruption. Amader solution hochchey aloo via SMS. Wider coverage (I use GP, you should too)*wink* and no chances of corruption.

Forhad Mazhar: PhD ajkal money hochchey Potato-holder’s Degree hoye gechey. Etao porashoktir arek shorojontro. Aloo khawa cherey din. Shabdhan!

Shishir Bhattacharya: I honestly cannot think of any funny cartoons or joke about aloo and our current national obsession with it. And no, I don’t check out blogs for ideas for my cartoons.

Shahriar Kabir (angrily, on some talk show): Ei dhakashohor naam diye ek neo-Jamaati, shamprodayik bojjat cheley blog korey. Aloo niye likhtey giye tar shamprodayikota exposed hoye giyeche. Shey Robindronath Thakoorke bangyo korechey! Amakeo! Er porey aloo khawa jay ki korey, apni bolun?

Delwar Hossain Saidee (Friday afternoon on television): Aloo is halal again! Reading that bekhtameez larka dhakashohor’s idiocies is still haraam!

Mainul Hosein (lost in a field of aloo): Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspi – (gets hit on head with aloo).


135 Responses to “Bangladesh Zeitgeist Watch: The Rise of the Aloo”

  1. Charles

    I am an American married to a Bangladeshi. I love Bangladesh, and it hurts me when I see how the criminals in power have stolen so much from the people.
    Because I do not speak or read Bangla, I am not sure if this story is a condemnation of the “potato push” that seems to be happening.
    However, I just wanted to put in my two cents and say that due to the rising food prices (crisis?) I would think that Bangladeshis should begin supplementing their meals with more potatos. They are cheap, nutritious, and easy to prepare into many dishes.
    Please do not think that I am telling any Bangladeshi to stop eating rice! I have spent enough time there to know that suggesting such a thing might get me a bloody lip or black eye!

  2. General Small Potato

    Some minor additions to the Aloo blog…

    Dr Kamal: Desh ekhon akta emergency te thaka rugi.. beshi kata chera korle mara jete pare… takee beshi kore Alu khawan… shob bhalo hoye jabe. ar hasina ke aro alu khawan oto amar meyer moto. (chapa kanna).. (wiped his tears)… Alu gonoforumer agami nirbachoner manifesto. (journalist interrupts: Sir, alu manifesto manee? alu’r harvest er bepare bolchen? Dr Kamal: NO COMMENT

    PDP Chairman Koreshi: if we had a political culture of alu consumption, none of this would have happened… thanks god 1/11 was here, now we can finally start harvesting more potatoes.

    General Ershad: Dui netri aloo’r kono unnoyener beboshtha koreni. Ami prothom bolechilam “beshi kore Aloo khan”.. amar successor ra e bepare bhul korchena. ami jail khanai ekta aloo chara ropon kore eshechilam dui netrir jonno, tara nishchoi ekhon shukrana namaj porchen ejonno. Rowshan ke pochondoi korechilam or aloo’r bhajitar jonno! pore dekhlam bidishar ta aro bhalo.. ki holo tar ekdin, beshi jhal diye dilo! tai shathe shathe talak!

    Justice Ruhul Amin in the Supreme Court: Alu Allowed! (delivered his famous two letter judgment on all govt appeals).. shocked Attorney general pleads, “my lord its appeal not alu”.. Justice Ruhul: Sorry, thats what i heard blurting out from Cantonment.. make a note, change it to “appeal” and send my apology to them..

    Deep Jol in malaysia: ALOO! KHaisi TORE!!

    Prof Yunus: Yes you are right… i have spoken to Hillary. Once she wins the democratic nomination, she will address the Alu issue and we are now thinking about a joint venture with Grameen and her. I have considered a name for it, Grameen Hillary ALu. PLease share your thoughts and write me a letter, even better an email! hurry up and send it before my next open letter to the nation.

  3. D.S

    Dear Charles,

    Anything that helps the Bangladeshi people out of the food situation is welcome to me as well. But from your post, I think we can both agree that such a choice is the people’s to make and not the government’s (and its sycophants) to force on them.

    This primary target of my ill-done satire was not the aloo campaign – problematic as it is, it is not a good target for satire – but a characteristic of a certain class of people in our country. We call them “toshamods” in Bangla, meaning sycophants. They fall in line with whoever holds the reins of power. There is a famous poem about them in Bangla .The secondary target was single-issue columnists and opinion-makers. All comments are fictional, products of my cynical nature. If I had time, I’d translate the Bangla parts. I might some day.

    Dear General Small Potato,

    Excellent, excellent addition to the quotes above. The Ershad one was killer! Keep them coming.

  4. Fariha

    DS,

    This article is among my favs! And my fathers too!! hehehe..

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