Written By Tarasankar Banerjee
A man came in middle class family, as a guest. After hi-hello and some chit-chat, he was been served with a plate, full of Sandesh and some other type of sweets. He took that special type sweet and couldn’t resist himself and told,”These are actually looking like Birla Planetarium. Where do you find these?”
That man was not completely wrong. He never saw that before. This special type of Sandesh has no special recognition yet. When we talk about Bankura, the things come in mind are Terracotta Temples, Baluchori Sharee, Dokra Art of Bankura, and many other things. Ramkinkar Baij and Jamini Roy have their identity worldwide. But ‘Mecha Sandesh’ of Jamini Roy’s motherland, Beliator, has no special recognition yet. They are not widely available yet even.
Mecha is probably as old as Rasgulla or Rosogolla. This Mecha Sandesh is years of old. Though, no one knows the history of it. And Mecha has no promotion also. The birthplace of Mecha is Beliator or Balitor of Bankura district. So generally, when one talk about Beliator, Mecha also comes in their mind. Mr Haridas Dey Modak of ‘Narayani Mecha Mahal’, one of the oldest Mecha maker of Baliator said that he learnt the making process of Mecha from their old descents, but the history of Mecha is completely unknown to him. Mr Hiralal Dey, another Mecha maker also said the same words. By words, When ‘Malla Raja’ of Bishnupur got the Zamindari of Bishnupur from Deoan Raja, the sweet makers of Beliator, made this delicious sweet for the insufficiency of ‘Chhana’ (curd).
Morobba from Suri (or Siuri), Sarpuriya from Krishnanagar, Lyancha from Shaktigar is popularly known to all. Everyone knows the name of ‘Jaynagar-er Moya’. But, very few people know about the Mecha from Beliator. This different type delicious ‘Sandesh’ is actually deserves a little more popularity and promotion due to its uniqueness. Few cities of Bankura, like Maliyara, Barjora and Durgapur of Burdwan makes Mecha, no one is able to touch the level of Mecha from Beliator. Beliator’s sweet industry actually depends on Meha. So the makers always try to maintain the quality. Though no one can compete with the taste of old days.
People nearby fails to catch the train. Mecha is quite unknown to the people nearby, but Mecha already travelled foreign. UK, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, and even South Africa. Though they were taken for personal purpose. No business deal ever signed. Now the makers of Mecha is asking for GI (Geographical Identification) tag. It will help them to grow the local economy and it’ll be even good for the Mecha also.
Artist Jamini Roy was very fond of Mecha Sandesh. General buyers are also very interested. But a little change in recipe drives it to change the taste. So the traders are also concerned about it to maintain the quality and the taste. When the local and express busses stops near Beliator, passengers eats and packs Mecha for their loved ones too. No colourful advertisement or standards outlets, only the faith and the quality makes it possible to survive even after hundreds of years. And now they just want to introduce Mecha to the rest of the world.
Photo Courtesy : Suman Dey and Rohan Dey.
Grateful to : Avijit Chatterjee, Sushar Kar, Haridas Dey Modak and Hiralal Dey.
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