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Hold On, West Bengal Got GI Tag for Only ‘Banglar Rosogolla’

West Bengal on Tuesday won a two-and-a-half-year-old battle with Odissa over the humble rasgulla.

Updated
Politics
3 min read
 Rasgulla, a Bengali sweet made with chhena.
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On Tuesday, it was reported that West Bengal won a long-drawn-out battle over the ‘king of sweets’ rosogolla after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted a congratulatory message for the state, exclaiming that Bengal won the Geographical Indications (GI) tag for the sweet product.

Not long after her tweet, news reports went with headlines that suggested that in the battle for rosogolla that West Bengal and Odisha have been locked in since 2015, the former emerged victorious.

Even a minister of Mamata’s cabinet — Abdur Rezzak Mollah, food processing minister – told the Hindustan Times that he was happy with the verdict. He had previously said the state government will not “let Odisha claim the credit for developing the rosogolla, as it is called in Bangla. We have decided to move court. Let the court decide.”

Hold On, West Bengal Got GI Tag for Only ‘Banglar Rosogolla’
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BUT WAIT!

Turns out that rosogolla, the truly ubiquitous entity, belongs to all and not only West Bengal. A quick search on the GI Registry website shows that West Bengal has earned the tag for ‘Banglar Rosogolla’, and not rosogolla as a whole.

Hold On, West Bengal Got GI Tag for Only ‘Banglar Rosogolla’

In application No 533, made by Food Processing Development Corp under the WB government, it clearly seeks GI registration for ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ which has been approved.

In fact, Odisha’s government never filed an application for the same. Although as per a tweet from the official account of Odisha CMO, the state government is in process of obtaining a GI tag for Odishara Rasagolla, which has been offered at Jagannath Temple as part of religious rituals for centuries.

According to The Telegraph, a panel submitted a 100-page report to the state government in 2016 citing several references to “stake claim to the origin of the sweet and prove the Bengal government's stand "wrong".”

The Origin Story

The battle had visibly intensified in 2015 when Odisha’s science and technology minister Pradip Kumar Panigrahi told the media that various committees set up to trace the origin of this sweet pointed to allegedly conclusive evidence that rasgulla has existed in the state for about 600 years.

The West Bengal government claimed rosogolla was invented by Nabin Chandra Das, a famous sweetmeat-maker, in 1868.

Odisha said extensive research done by them proved that ‘rasagolla’ originated in Puri. It was first incorporated as ‘kheer mohana’, and later evolved into ‘pahala rasagolla’.

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We will scrutinise the GI order. I shall hold a meeting with the ministers of Odisha government as well as with my party leaders to decide the future course of action. The door of the courts is always open.
Maheswar Mohanty, Biju Janta Dal Legislator 

This debate over the rosogolla is not merely about Oria and Bengali sentiments. It can also mean an increase in business for vendors in both Odisha and West Bengal.

I thank CM Mamata Banerjee for her proactive role. She asked her officers to get in touch with us in 2015 when Odisha tried to get the GI registration in their favour. The government took all related documents and information from us to authenticate the claim that Nabin Chandra Das was indeed the inventor of rosogolla.
Dhiman Das, Director, KC Das

The expense for this prolonged battle between Odisha and West Bengal has been borne by the state governments, said Das.

(This article has been updated)

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