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An Indian Politician Believes You Can Identify Bangladeshis Because They Eat Poha

BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya said he suspected that the construction labourers working in his home were Bangladeshi because of their preference for poha.
Shamani Joshi
Mumbai, IN
An Indian politician believes Bangladeshis can be identified because they eat poha
Photo by Megha Mangal / Pexels (left) and By Pranjalvsv - अपना काम, [CC BY-SA 4.0] (right)

Not so long ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a controversial statement saying those creating violence can be “identified by their clothes”—an emphatic reference to members of the Muslim community. Now, a BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh has his own theory. Kailash Vijayvargiya believes that Bangladeshi immigrants can be identified by their “strange” eating habits.

According to PTI, Vijayvargiya revealed that he suspected some of the construction labourers working to renovate his house were Bangladeshi. He came to this conclusion like any expert would, with evidence to back his claims—the evidence being that these workers enjoyed eating poha, a popular Indian breakfast or snack, made from flattened rice. Vijayvargiya concluded that since these daily wage workers were into this snack, they were obviously Bangladeshi. "I suspected these workers were residents of Bangladesh,” he said speaking at an event in Indore on January 23. “Two days after I became suspicious, they stopped working at my house. I have not filed any police complaint yet. I only mentioned this incident to warn people."


There’s only one small problem with this speculation: Poha is a Maharashtrian dish and is widely enjoyed across the country, most famously in tandem with jalebis in Madhya Pradesh. Not only does this snack have an origin story with absolutely no connection to Bangladesh, but since it’s cheap and easily available, it’s fairly common for daily wage labourers to prefer eating poha.

But hey, maybe this will make the whole NRC process easier because going by what this BJP leader says, all one has to do to identify illegal Bangladeshi immigrants is to put a plate of poha in front of them and see if they fancy it.

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