Sambit Dash

What began as a Twitter hashtag suggestion in the ides of March, 2015 became a leading Twitter trend in two years time. It spiralled from tweets to newspaper articles, from historical literature search to heated debates, from confines of a virtual world to the real world. Yes, Rasagola Dibasa, which started as a discussion among few tweeple (people on Twitter), including yours truly, on 18th March, 2015, has been a trending hashtag (#RasagolaDibasa) since couple of years and has captured popular imagination. This underlines the power of social media.

It is not that Rasagola was lying in obscurity before this trending business started. Tonnes of it were consumed in Odisha, with perhaps a vast majority also knowing the fact that it originated from Odisha. But when the issue of its celebration came up, importantly celebrating its origin from Odisha came up, up came various claims and counterclaims. The matter went to head when geotagging was discussed. Had it not been for social media and its fast paced nature, things would not have moved at such rapid pace.

While a lot of people were aware of Rasagola’s origin in Odisha and its link with Niladri Bije ritual of Ratha Jatra, the ‘trending’ of Rasagola Dibasa led to some research, where people cited references which establish its origin and it was a very scientific process. Not much fake news propagated. Records and references buried somewhere came to the limelight and in a transparent manner on social media. It bode well from a historical and cultural point of view.

While places like Pahala sell hundreds of kilograms of Rasagola daily, the spiralling out of this Twitter trend to streets and shops made some difference to the business end of it. In a years’ time of first trending of #RasagolaDibasa on Twitter, flex banners stating it were up on some shops. In two years time, events, offers, etc are being planned around it. While most of the times it is issues on ground which comes to social media, in this case the pattern was reversed.

Today we might bask at the success of #RasagolaDibasa, we might take immense pride in setting a system in motion, we might rightfully claim Rasagola to be ours we might feel victorious and rightly so. Yet a small moment of reflection should be part of the euphoria. On all other days when issues that are dear to us are not trending, celebrations of sweet hashtags are not happening, there are trends that are happening and all of them are not sweet as Rasagola. They too spiral out of virtual world to real life. One needs to be watchful, to be observant.

In Rasagola Dibasa a powerful message is that of the power of social media. At times we take it for granted. It has so seamlessly aligned in our lives that we do not appreciate it enough. And by appreciation I mean critical appreciation. There is an important message of people coming together for a cause. And again that is something we underestimate often. Odisha centric issues (not limited to Pakhala or Rasagola Dibasa) need to be taken up more often on social media. Let the take home message on this Rasagola Dibasa be that of the goodness that collective effort can bring about.

PS: Inculcate the good habit of getting your FBS (Fasting Blood Glucose) & HbA1c tested at least twice each year.