From Laddus To Rasgullas, Indian Sweets Were Once Used As Code Messages For Freedom

by Tejashee Kashyap
From Laddus To Rasgullas, Indian Sweets Were Once Used As Code Messages For Freedom

Indian sweets are known for their delectable taste and rich cultural significance. However, they played an unusual but crucial role during the fight for India’s independence from British colonial rule. Beyond their appeal as sweet treats, these delicacies concealed an ingenious method of communication, allowing freedom fighters to exchange messages, plans, and ideas.

Sweets Formed A Confectionery Network

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The Indian independence movement gained momentum in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period, the British government enacted strict laws and imposed harsh restrictions on the movement. It made it challenging for revolutionaries to communicate openly.

Under these oppressive conditions, the ingenious tactic of using Indian sweets as a medium of secret communication emerged. The revolutionaries leveraged this traditional method, but with a twist: they skillfully concealed coded messages within the sweets’ delicate folds.

Indian sweets became the ideal medium for transferring messages due to their popularity and ubiquity. The freedom fighters established a clandestine network of confectioners and sweet shops who were sympathetic to the cause. These trusted individuals were not only skilled in preparing mouthwatering delicacies but were also passionate about supporting the independence movement.

Each sweet shop was assigned a unique code name, and the freedom fighters referred to them using these aliases.

Also Read: 22 Best Sweet Shops In Mumbai To Satisfy All Your Sugar Cravings

So, How Were Indian Sweets Used As Code Messages?

image credits: Canva

Transmitting messages via sweets required meticulous planning and encryption techniques. The messages were carefully written on thin rice paper or edible materials using edible ink. To maintain secrecy, the messages were written in codes, ciphers, or ancient scripts, intelligible only to the intended recipients.

For example, a certain type of “laddu” might signify the letter ‘A,’ while a particular variety of “jalebi” might represent ‘B.’ The arrangement of sweets in a box or the order in which they were presented conveyed the actual message.

Moreover, boxes of laddus or rasgulla would be delivered to a recipient who would translate the messages and deliver them to the freedom fighters. The signals that were sent to them frequently used code phrases. Bengali Rasgulla packed may indicate that a party of independence warriors were on their way, and Bombay Halwa could indicate that the revolutionaries required support from the Bombay province. These letters occasionally served as codes for Indian bombs, cartels, and guns. Delivering Laddoos would be a message that implied ordering desi explosives.

The story of sweet secrets serves as a unique and captivating chapter in India’s history, celebrating the role of these delicious confections in the fight for a nation’s liberation.

Cover image credits: Canva