Bhubaneswar: Much to the exasperation of people of Odisha, neighbouring state West Bengal has won the claim over the origin of syrupy sweetmeat rasagola as it has been awarded the geographical indication (GI) tag.
The Food Processing Industries and Horticulture Department of West Bengal government on September, 2015 had written a letter to the Geographical Indications Registry office in Chennai seeking official seal over its claim.
It said that the way the dessert is made in the state is different from that of other states, reports said.
The officials of the GI Registry said that rasagola is the creation of Bengal and it is in any way not of Odisha, it added.
West Bengal government had sought GI tag on what they called “Banglar Rasogolla” (Bengal’s Rasgulla) during its application before the Intellectual Property office in 2015.
While Odisha stakes its claim over the mouth-watering delicacy, the Bengal government claimed rasagola was invented by Nabin Chandra Das in 1868.
Earlier, Odisha government had asked its Science and Technology department to apply for the patent as well as the GI tag for the syrupy delicacy. A committee set by the department conducted thorough research on origin of rasagola and finally concluded that the sweet had its origins in Odisha. The research cited that rasagola existed in Odisha since 15th-16th century as it has been mentioned in the ‘Dandee Ramayana’. Despite historical proof and evidence about origin of rasagola, the state government did not precede further to stake the claim that sweet had its origin in Odisha.
Eminent Jagannath cult scholar Asit Mohanty has already submitted a 100-page report claiming that the confection originated in Odisha. In the report to the state government, he contended that the sweet’s reference was found in Dandi Ramayana, a version of the epic adapted by Balaram Das in the 16th century.
The report claimed that the sweet was being offered to gods in mutts and temples for over 600 years.
Since last couple of years, traders in Odisha have been celebrating ‘Rasagola Dibasa’ on auspicious occasion of Niladri Bije of Lord Jagannath.
However, Bengal maintained that there is no relation between the one prepared in their state and those offered to Lord Jagannath.
Now, it remains to be seen how Odisha government reacts to the development.