Ben­gal wins the roso­golla war

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - - Metro - su­manta.chaud­ Su­manta Ray Chaud­huri

KOLKATA: It was sweet vic­tory for West Ben­gal af­ter a bit­ter feud over one of In­dia’s most cel­e­brated desserts. On Tues­day, the Ge­o­graph­i­cal Indi­ca­tions (GI) reg­istry an­nounced that the roso­golla (also known as ras­gulla) orig­i­nated in the state, and not in Odisha.

“This has been set­tled un­der the GI Act that au­then­ti­cates prod­ucts to ei­ther ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions or to com­mu­ni­ties or so­ci­eties,” said San­jay Bhat­tacharya, deputy con­troller of patents and de­signs in Kolkata, declar­ing the pos­si­ble end of a tussle go­ing back two-and-a-half years and a de­bate rag­ing for decades.

“Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Ben­gal has been granted GI sta­tus for roso­golla,” West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee wrote on Twit­ter af­ter the news broke.

Ab­dur Rez­zak Mol­lah, food pro­cess­ing min­is­ter in Ban­er­jee’s cabi­net, told Hin­dus­tan Times that he was “happy and re­lieved”.

“Ear­lier, we fought suc­cess­fully with other states to get the GI reg­is­tra­tion for the Joy­na­garer Moa, a pop­u­lar win­ter snack made of puffed rice and palm jag­gery,” Mol­lah added.

The bat­tle for the roso­golla in­ten­si­fied in 2015 when Odisha’s sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy min­is­ter Pradip Ku­mar Pan­i­grahi said that more than one com­mit­tee set up to trace the ori­gin of the sweet had pointed to “con­clu­sive ev­i­dence” that ‘rosagolla’ (which is how the dessert is spelt in the state) ex­isted for about 600 years. Odisha con­tended that his­tor­i­cal re­search proved that the ‘rasagolla’ orig­i­nated in Puri. Its first avatar was ‘kheer mo­hana’, which later evolved into ‘pa­hala rasagolla’.

In re­sponse, the West Ben­gal gov­ern­ment quoted 19-cen­tury history to claim the roso­golla was in­vented by Nabin Chan­dra Das, a fa­mous sweet­meat maker, in 1868.

When asked about the or­der, the Biju Janata Dal leg­is­la­tor from Puri, Ma­h­eswar Mo­hanty, said the fight was far from over. “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,” Mo­hanty said.

The de­bate over the ori­gin of the roso­golla is not merely about Ben­gali and Odia sen­ti­ments. Ex­perts say the brag­ging rights may trans­late into good busi­ness for con­fec­tion­ers in the two states.

One of them, a de­scen­dent of Nabin Chan­dra Das, thanked the West Ben­gal gov­ern­ment for its proac­tive role in the fight.

“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 Sweets, said.


A worker la­dles out roso­golla at Kolkata’s KC Das shop, run by a de­scen­dent of NC Das, the dessert’s in­ven­tor.

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