Does Rasagola belong to Odisha or West Bengal? The question has raked up controversies time and again, but after Odisha decided to secure the GI (Geographical Indication) status for the age-old sweet of Odisha, Pahala Rasogola, the war has intensified like never before.
Rasgulla or Roshogolla, as commonly pronounced in Bengal, is waiting for its fate to be decided after West Bangal and Odisha raked up a fight over the sweet belonging originally to their respective states.
The two states have asked Chennai to decide on the Geographical Indication Tag that the sweet would get.
As the fight between the two states emerged, West Bengal government has started the procedure of sending the concerned documents to Chennai to get the outcome.
Bengal minister Sashi Panja has raised the question as to why it took so much time for the state government to claim the sweet’s origin.
Researcher and writer Haripada Bhowmik author of the book ‘Rosogolla’ is clearly proving Orisha claims to be wrong. He has supplied several documents to the State Government to prove rosogolla originated from West Bengal, said Panja.
However, Haripada Bhowmik is waiting for the final report from Chennai.
Bengalis & fellow Odias, while we squabble about origin of Rasagollas, look who's sneaking ahead in exports: Gujarat? pic.twitter.com/39971Du2cE
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) September 6, 2015
As per the this article in FirstPost, the Odisha government appears to be fixated on the Pahala Rasagola, whose history only goes back to 70-80 years old. The Bengali rasagolla invented by Nabin Chandra Das, on the contrary, boasts of its 150-year old history.
Maheswar Mohanty, senior BJD leader and Puri MLA, too understands that Pahala is the wrong horse to back. “There is reference to rasagola in Madala Panji (a 12 century treatise that chronicles the traditions of the Jagannath Temple) and Dandi Ramayana written by Balaram Das. We are collecting material to prove that Rasagola originated in Odisha,” says the former minister, who headed the high-powered infrastructure committee on Nabakalebara. Science and Technology minister Pradeep Panigrahi echoes his party colleague.
But in a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing, the Industries department, which is pursuing the case for GI status, is still clutching on to the Pahala rasagola. “We don’t have any documentary proof on rasagolas being offered as bhog to Lord Jagannath. The Culture department might be having it,” says Nityananda Pallai, director, Industries department.
Asked if toeing the Pahala line would not cost Odisha dear in the battle for copyright over rasagola, Palai says, “Not really. Pahala Rasagola has a good chance of getting GI status because of its unique making style and its distinctive taste,” he says. It is obvious that he is clutching at straws and trying to make the best out of a lost cause.
The confusion does not augur well for Odisha in the battle over the syrupy sweet. Muddled thinking and working at cross purposes look like robbing Odisha of something that rightfully belongs to it.
Courtesy: The New Indian Express, First Post