Authenticity of Rosogolla from Bengal

Geographical Indication marks the sweet's origin


November 15, 2017

/ By / New Delhi

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In a bitter, sweet-war, this dish has finally found a home! The rosogolla now officially belongs to West Bengal.

A snow-white, spongy ball made of cottage cheese dunked in sugar syrup, rosogolla or rasgulla, as the sweet-dish is enunciated in North India, is prepared with no or minimum alterations to its authentic style and relished in various parts of the country.

A favourite of many, particularly in the states Bengal and Odisha, where it is made the most, the sweet rasgulla had been going through bitter times lately.

The governments of both states had been in a row over rasgulla’s origins, claiming the sweet indigenous to their part of the country.

Bengal claimed the sweet having its roots in the state since 1868 when confectioner Nabin Chandra Das invented it in erstwhile Calcutta. Odisha asserted that it was invented in its city of Puri in the 13th century when the first kind of the rasgulla was the Oriya sweet kheer mohana.

The bitter, sweet-battle took a sharp turn when the West Bengal government filed a court petition along with a Geographical Indication (GI) recognition for their beloved rosogolla.

In retaliation, Odisha did the same. Moreover, in 2015, its science and technology minister Pradip Kumar announced the establishment of a committee that would track the origin of the sweet; and it did! The committee presented a 100-page report supporting their claim.

The report cited the mention of the sweet ball in Dandi Ramayan, an Odia adaptation of the Hindu epic of Valmiki Ramayan. It also provided evidence of the existence of rasgulla in the state much before it appeared in West Bengal. As per the report, rasgulla’s mention can be found in Odia literature before 1893, while there is no mention of such sweet in any Bengali literature before 1896. The researchers claimed that they could cite more such examples too, but all this for no good, really.

This battle ended with West Bengal taking home the pot of rosogolla, and the GI tag, which is an intellectual property identifier recognising the origin of a product.

Now the state’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee is keen on giving the world a taste of the sweet-dish, an idea that is finding many takers in West Bengal.

During the battle, the minister had presented rosogolla as a cultural ambassador of the state, while the Odisha state government in 2015, launched a social media campaign #RasagollaDibasa, literally rasgulla day.

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