It all started with a joke by columnist Anand Ranganathan. Posting a photograph of himself and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Twitter, Anand joked, "Pleased to receive this token of appreciation, on behalf of the one-man-committee for granting of the Mysore Pak GI tag to Tamil Nadu. Talks are proceeding smoothly. WDTT"
Pleased to receive this token of appreciation, on behalf of the one-man-committee for granting of the Mysorepak GI tag to Tamilnadu.— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) September 15, 2019
Talks are proceeding smoothly. WDTT. pic.twitter.com/khppaVijXt
But what was intended as sarcasm was clearly not picked up by news publications. Several TV news channels, mostly Kannada language ones, broadcasted the joke as a news item, claiming that the union government had granted the Geographical Identification (GI) tag for Mysore Pak to Tamil Nadu.
News channels telecast reports stating that the GI tag was granted to Tamil Nadu following a memorandum submitted by Anand Ranganathan. TV9 News, which published a report on the same stated that this had sparked discussions among the public about the origin of the sweet item. The channel aired visuals of Mysore Pak being served in a function.
Another news channel – TV5 Kannada – reported that Tamil Nadu was trying to start a fight over the origins of Mysore Pak, while News18 Kannada suggested that there was outrage amongst people in Karnataka for the decision to grant Tamil Nadu the GI tag. Similar reports were carried by several news channels including Dighvijay, Suvarna News among others.
The spread of the fake news saw even serial protester Vatal Nagaraj of the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha join in, "Is this a joke? After Cauvery and Mekedatu issues, they have come for our sweet also now? Let them beware. Whether it is Stalin or anyone else, we might have let it be but there is no chance of renaming Mysore Pak. In the whole world, it will be Mysore Pak and only Mysore Pak," he said.
Good god! What have you started @ARanganathan72 ?!— मङ्गलम् (@veejaysai) September 16, 2019
Here is the emperor of all protests, with a message for you!
Didn't you also say Roshogulla belongs to Odisha or something like that? pic.twitter.com/3pNiuXP2gq
This is not the first time this sequence of events is playing out. In 2017, similar reports were aired by TV channels and even national newspapers about how Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were fighting over the legacy of Mysore Pak.
Even on that occasion, Anand Ranganathan got involved in the debate by tweeting what he claimed was an 'authentic' document purportedly showing Lord Macaulay stating in the Indian Parliament in 1835 that the sweet originated from Tamil Nadu.
He even posted a screenshot of Lord Macauley's purported speech in which he refers to his good friend Lord Crincklybottom saying that the Mysore Pak recipe was smuggled out of Madras to Mysore. But even on that occasion, Anand posted it as a joke and also claimed that he could not believe that the Indian media was publishing a story based on something that was imagined.
As always, authentic documents come to the rescue. Here it is - confirmation that Mysorepak is a Tamilian invention. pic.twitter.com/GxSVfquwRN— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) August 2, 2015