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Nov 14, 2017 06:26 PM IST | Source:

West Bengal wins GI tag for Rasgulla in bittersweet battle with Odisha over its origin

The bragging rights for the Rasgulla in the two and half year bittersweet battle has ultimately ended up boosting business for confectioners in both states

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

The pearly white, mouthwatering Rasgulla has finally found its place after Geographical Indication (GI) tag authorities in Chennai ruled that the iconic sugar-boiled sweet has originated in West Bengal rather than Odisha.

In a fierce debate that lasted for two and a half years, West Bengal claimed it was invented in yesteryear's Calcutta, by confectioner Nabin Chandra Das. However, Odisha said it was invented in the holy city of Puri way back in the 13th century.

“The victory came after a long fight over two years and a half. I am happy and relieved,” said Abdur Rezzak Mollah, food processing minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, in a statement to Hindustan Times.

The GI authorities ruled that West Bengal is the origin of the Rasgulla, and in this case awarded the state the much-coveted GI tag for the product that authenticates it to a geographic location, production or community.

Mithai Map of India

The West Bengal-Odisha Rasgulla fight had recently taken a legal turn when Bengal's food processing minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah filed a court petition in tandem with the application for Geographical Indication (GI) and had said that the government will not let Odisha claim the credit for the Rasgulla.

The government has traced the Rasgulla's origin, known as 'Roshogolla' in West Bengal, to Nabin Chandra Das, a 19-century sweetmaker back in 1868.

The fight intensified back in 2015 when Pradip Kumar, Odisha’s science and technology minister, told the media that they set up a committee to trace the historical origin of the sweet.

In its 100-page report to the Odisha state government, the committee had cited several references to stake claim to the origin of the sweet dish and prove the West Bengal government's stand 'wrong'.

GI recognition tags work as an intellectual property identifier for a product.

Some of the other products that also have a GI tag include Darjeeling tea, where native tea growers can challenge why a product is being marketed under the name despite not being grown from the tea gardens of Darjeeling.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been portraying the dessert as a cultural ambassador of the state on the global stage. Her idea has found support with the state's sweet makers.

The Odisha government had put up a good fight as well. They claimed that the first avatar was of the Rasgulla, as it is known in north India, was the Oriya sweet ‘kheer mohana’ which they later claimed evolved as the ‘pahala rasgulla’ as per a Hindustan Times report.

But this is not the first GI fight West Bengal has won, previously it successfully earned the GI tag for a regional sweet made of jaggery and puffed rice called the "Jayanagarer Moa", available during winters.

It seems the fight for the origin of Rasgulla will now settle once and for all.
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