The battle between West Bengal and Odisha over the origin of Rosogolla ended on a sweet note for West Bengal with the State winning the Geographical Indication (GI) for this iconic sweet.
A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
On Tuesday, West Bengal won the two-and-a-half-year-old bitter battle over Rosogolla with Chennai-based Geographical Indications (GI) Registry announcing that one of India’s signature sweets originated in West Bengal and not Odisha.
“It matter has been settled under the GI Act. The Act 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 has planned to continue with the battle. Odisha could seek legal recourse also. A meeting of Odisha Ministers is on the cards to carry the battle forward.
“We will scrutinize the GI order. The future course of action will be decided in a meeting with party leaders and Ministers. We could seek legal recourse also” stated Maheswar Mohanty, BJD MLA from Puri.
It has been a long tug of war with both the states locking horns over the origin of the sweet.
In 2015 Odisha’s Science and Technology Minister Pradip Kumar Panigrahi told media that committees had been set up to trace the origin of the sweet. He had stated that there is conclusive evidence that Rosogolla has existed in the state for about 600 years.
Odisha, claimed that ‘Rasagolla’ originated in Puri. Its ancestor was ‘Kheer Mohana’, which later evolved as ‘Pahala Rasagolla’.
The West Bengal government fell back on 19-century history to claim Rosogolla was invented by Nabin Chandra Das, a famous sweetmeat maker, in 1868.
With news of Bengal’s victory, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is at present on a tour of London, twitted “Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Bengal has been granted GI (Geographical Indication) status for Rosogolla.”
It was a day of celebration at “Rosogolla Bhawan,” the family home of Nabin Chandra Das, the inventor of Rosogolla. The Bhawan is located at Rabindra Sarani, Bagbazar in North Kolkata.
“On the location of Rosogolla Bhawan stood the sweet-meat shop run by Nabin Chandra Das. He started experimenting trying to make a new sweet from 1864. Finally success came in the form of the Rosogolla in 1868. We are all so happy. We had provided documents to prove our claim that Rosogolla originated from Bengal” stated Dhiman Das, Executive Director of K C Das Pvt Ltd and great grandson of Nabin Chandra Das.
However this is not the first sweet battle that Bengal has fought. Abdur Rezzak Mollah, Food Processing Minister stated “Earlier we had fought a similar battle with other states over the GI of Joynogorer Mowa.” The Mowa is a winter delicacy made of puffed rice and date-palm jaggery with origins in Joynagar, West Bengal.
Earlier sweets like Sitabhog and Mihidana of Burdwan along with Mowa from Joynagar were accorded the GI tag from Bengal.
Bengal broke out into celebration mode with news of Rosogolla having made it to the GI. People of Bengal who are known to take their sweets very seriously made a beeline for the sweet shops specially KC Das to renew their sweet affair with this iconic sweet.
Not stopping at this other districts of West Bengal vowed to showcase their own sweet specialties and win the GI tag.
In the list are Chana Bora of Baharampur, Murshidabad; Kheeerer Pantuwa of Katwa of East Burdwan along with Pantua and Kancha Golla of Ranaghat, Nadia district. However the strongest contender remains the Mishti Doi (sweet curd) of West Bengal. Darjeeling Tea is the first product of the State to be accorded the GI.