Even if the world goes batshit crazy over nationalism, humour can’t be exiled. With the tags “patriot” and “anti-national” being bandied about left, right and centre, the photograph below needs little explanation. (FYI, Mysore Pak is a sweet believed to have originated in Mysore but is now available at least all over Karnataka, if not beyond.)
The meme was uploaded by Unofficial Subramanian Swamy on Facebook, but apparently the idea may have first been tweeted by @Datoism on February 20. It had over 2,800 shares from Unofficial Subbu Swamy’s page at the time of writing.
So, how does the sweet really get ‘Pak’ in its name?
Made of besan, ghee and sugar – in the right combination and process of course – Mysore Pak comes in two basic varieties: a soft, mushy variety, and in crumbly, porous rectangular blocks. However, both varieties come in several flavours.
The sweet has its origins in the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru.
Kakasura Madappa was a cook with the royal family and was asked to produce a sweet that was, as Kannada news channels like to say, ‘something different’ and which would be named after his kingdom.
Wondering about the Pak connection? Pretty simple, actually. The Mysore bit was easy enough, courtesy the king. According to Madappa’s great grandson Nataraj, the word Pak comes from the word ‘nalapaka’ which in Kannada means the person who makes the paka, or sugar syrup. Put the two together, and you get Mysore Pak.
Pleased with Madappa’s recipe, the king, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar eventually asked him to open a shop outside the Amba Vilas palace grounds. This is where Madappa set it up in 1957: the Guru Sweet Mart on Sayyaji Rao Road, which Nataraj now runs.