20 months after Bengal’s Rasogolla, Odisha’s Rasagola gets GI tag, trends on Twitter
The see-saw battle of sweets between Odisha and Bengal over the origin of the Rasagola came to end Monday after the former received the Geographical Indications tag for “Odisha Rasagola”, a sweet dumpling known for its juicy and non-chewy feel that can be “swallowed without teeth pressure”.
The Chennai-based GI Registry on Monday issued formal certification for “Odisha Rasagola” on its website more than a year after the state applied for it.
Soon after GI certification for Odisha Rasagola, it started trending on Twitter with several social media users including chief minister Naveen Patnaik hailing it.
Former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey tweeted: “All’s Well That Ends Well, the sweet war between West Bengal and #Odisha ended in a sweeter note with Odisha having its own GI Tag. Forget your Rasogolla and our Rasagola; let’s celebrate the sweet success and relish this mouthwatering delight.”
In November 2017, West Bengal received its GI tag for Banglar Rasogolla setting off a war of words between the social media users of the two states over the origin of the sweet. While Odisha said Rasagola was served in the 12th century Lord Jagannath temple, much before Bengal knew about it, the neighbouring state claimed Rasogolla was invented by Nobin Chandra Das at his Kolkata residence and its version was completely different from Odisha’s.
In February 2018, Odisha staked claim for the GI registration for Rasagola citing several references of the sweet in historical documents and mythologies like Dandi Ramayana, a version of the epic adapted by Balaram Das in the 16th century. In ‘Ajodhya Kanda’ of Dandi Ramayana, there are descriptions Bharat and Shatrughna going to the forest to bring Lord Rama back and stopping at the abode of sage Bharadwaj. The sage served them Rasagola among several other sweets. To buttress its claims, it showed Record of Rights of the 12th century Jagannath temple which said in age-old ritual of “Niladri Bije”, the sweet was traditionally offered to Goddess Lakshmi on behalf of Lord Jagannath.
In December 14, 1893, a poem authored by Damodar Pattanayak in the weekly ‘Bali Jatra’ that talked of sweet shops selling Rasagola and other sweets.
The Odisha application submitted by Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited and Utkala Misthanna Byabasayee Samiti of Bhubaneswar said “Odisha Rasagola” had a distinct taste made‐up of Chhena cooked in sugar syrup, which is very soft to feel, juicy and non‐ chewy in consistency and can be swallowed without teeth pressure. “Colour development of Odisha Rasagola is very specific, where without addition of external colour, various intensity coloured rasagolas are prepared using the principle of caramalization of sugar with specific methods of preparation. Odisha Rasagola are white in colour with round shape (nonspherical),” the application said.
Since last few years, Odisha has been celebrating July 26 as Rasagola Dibas.
In contrast, the GI tag for Banglar Rasogolla described it as a pure white, spongy ball of “Chhana” dipped in light sugar syrup. Spongy, fluffy smooth texture with less chewiness is the unique characters of this sweet that make the product exclusive from the rest, the GI certification said.
Odisha minister for micro, small and medium enterprises, Dibyashankar Mishra said ‘Odisha Rasagola’ receiving GI tag will promote the State’s culture and tradition across the world. However, leader of opposition Pradipta Naik saod Odisha government’s negligence delayed GI tag to ‘Odisha Rasagola’.