Vic­tory for Ben­gal in bit­ter sweet bat­tle

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey & Mi­nati Singha

It was a bit­terly fought bat­tle, but, in the end, West Ben­gal tasted sweet suc­cess. The state won the ge­o­graph­i­cal in­di­ca­tion (GI) tag for “Banglar Ra­so­golla”, a sweet the state is syn­ony­mous with, beat­ing Odisha.

Tues­day’s ver­dict comes af­ter a 26-month bat­tle be­tween the two states in the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty wing of the min­istry of com­merce, which con­fers the GI tag. West Ben­gal CM Ma­mata Banerjee, who is cur­rently in the UK, tweeted: “Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Ben­gal has been granted GI sta­tus for Roso­golla.”

Odisha fi­nance min­is­ter Shashi Bhushan Be­hera said, “This is not a loss for Odisha as we have not yet filed an ap­pli­ca­tion with the Ge­o­graph­i­cal In­di­ca­tions Reg­istry. Once we ap­ply, they will look into the mat­ter and Odisha may get a GI tag for its very own ra­so­gola.”

While the Ben­gali name for the sweet is spelled with two Ls be­cause of the stress on the let­ter, the Odia name has a lighter ‘L’ sound and is translit­er­ated as “ra­so­gola”.

It was a claim made by the Odisha gov­ern­ment in 2015, say­ing the day of Ulta Ratha should be de­clared as Odisha’s “ra­so­gola day”, that made Ben­gal sit up. Soon, Odisha ap­plied for GI tag and Ben­gal’s sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy depart­ment lodged a counter-claim. In Septem­ber 2015, the state pre­pared a dossier claim­ing the ra­so­golla be­longed to Ben­gal, and had been in­vented in two stages in two com­pletely dif­fer­ent historical time zones.

Ben­gal claimed Naveen Chan­dra Das in­tro­duced the sweet in 1869. Odisha, on the other hand, col­lected ev­i­dence point­ing to the ori­gin of a very sim­i­lar sweet of­fered at Puri’s famed Ja­gan­nath Tem­ple since the 12th cen­tury.

Ben­gal has ex­plained that the art of ra­so­golla-mak­ing lies in the use of chhana (Ben­gal-style cot­tage cheese). “Ben­gal is the only state that uses chhana to make sweets. The process of cur­dling is con­sid-

Banglar Ra­so­golla

ered ‘un­holy’ by most com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing Odiyas, who never of­fered any sweet to Lord Ja­gan­nath made of chhana. Tem­ple records that con­tain de­tails of the food served to Ja­gan­nath does not men­tion ra­so­golla,” said Mo­hua Hom Chowd­hury, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the state sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy depart­ment.

Odisha MSME sec­re­tary L N Gupta told TOI, “The GI tag to ‘Banglar ra­so­golla’ does not set­tle the de­bate on its ori­gin. The two sweets are dif­fer­ent. Odisha gov­ern­ment will file an ap­pli­ca­tion for it soon.”

Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that #Ben­gal has been granted GI sta­tus for Roso­golla

There are over

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