The Geographical Identification authorities in Chennai ruled that West Bengal is the origin of rosogolla.
West Bengal on Tuesday won the two-and-a-half-year-old bitter battle over rosogolla as tChennai-based Geographical Indications (GI) Registry announced that one of India’s signature sweets originated in the state and not Odisha.
“It has been settled under the GI Act that authenticates a product relating to either a geographical location or community or society,” said Sanjay Bhattacharya, deputy controller of patents and designs in Kolkata.
Odisha and Bengal have been locked in a bitter fight over the GI registration of rosogolla since 2015.
“Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Bengal has been granted GI ( Geographical Indication) status for Rosogolla,” Banerjee, who is in London, wrote on Twitter.
Abdur Rezzak Mollah, food processing minister in Banerjee’s cabinet, told the Hindustan Times he is “happy and relieved”.
“Earlier, we fought successfully with other states to get the GI registration for Joynagarer Moa, a popular winter snack made of puffed rice and palm jaggery,” added Mollah. A delighted Mollah said the sweet is his favourite but high blood sugar prevents him from eating it. Mollah said last week the state government will not “let Odisha claim the credit” for developing the rosogolla.
“Bengal is the origin of rosogolla… We have decided to move court. Let the court decide. We will pursue the matter till the very end,” Mollah had said. “Odisha unnecessarily raised a dispute over the issue,” said Partha Chatterjee, education minister.
The battle intensified in 2015 when Odisha’s science and technology minister Pradip Kumar Panigrahi told media that more than one committee set up to trace the origin of the syrupy sweet pointed to ‘conclusive evidence’ that rosogolla existed in the state for about 600 years.
The West Bengal government quoted 19-century history to claim rosogolla was invented by Nabin Chandra Das, a famous sweetmeat maker, in 1868. Odisha, on the other hand, said historical research proved ‘rasagolla’ originated in Puri. Its first avatar was ‘kheer mohana’, which later evolved as ‘pahala rasagolla’.
“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,” Biju Janata Dal legislator from Puri, Maheswar Mohanty, said.
The debate over the origin of the rasgulla – as it is known in north India – is not merely about Bengali and Odia sentiments. The bragging rights may translate into good business for confectioners in the two states.
“I thank chief minister 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 of KC Das Private Ltd and a great great grandson of Nabin Chandra, said.
“The state government has borne the entire expenditure of the fight,” added Das.