Rasogulla conceived, delivered in Bengal
Thanks to a sustained two-and-a-half-year legal battle that came Bengal’s way, the Chennai-based Geographical Indications Registry on Tuesday ruled that the Indian signature sweetmeat — Rasogulla — was conceived in the womb of Bengal, not in Odisha. The decision sparked spontaneous “sweet rallies” across West Bengal.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — who is away in London to woo investors — tweeted, “Sweet news for us all. We are very happy and proud that Bengal has been granted GI status for rasogulla.”
Bangla superstar Prasenjit said, “Now my favourite Rasogulla will taste many more notches sweeter and I shall have a couple of them tonight only defying my doctor’s strong anti-diabetic regime.”
Food Processing Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah normally, not known to possess a sweet tongue, processed his words more sweetly saying, “I’m relieved” in an apparent reference to his pledge to win the battle for Bengal. This is a second victory for Bengal, which earlier won a similar status for Darjeeling Tea, and Joynagarer Moa, a popular export quality winter sweet snack made of puffed rice and palm jaggery.
Even as the State erupted in joy, small rallies in which the Trinamool Congress, the CPI(M), the BJP and the Congress supporters came together, came alive with slogans of “Rasogulla jindabad,” and, “Bangla mayer mishit cheley rasogasolla khabo pele (we shall eat Rasogolla whenever possible).”
Sources from Puri — from where the sweetmeat originated with the name of Kheer Mohana or Pahala Rasgulla according to the Odisha Government — said local MLA Maheshwar Mohanty was making up his mind to seek a scrutiny of the GI order. He said, “I shall hold a meeting with the Government as well as with my party leaders to decide on the future course of action,” he said adding the doors of the court were always open for a second battle.
Historically speaking there are two views on the birth of the sweet meat. The view across the Mahanadi says that it was born in a village near Puri about 600-800 years ago where it was exclusively prepared for the Lord Jagannath. The sweet was either named Kheer Mohana or Pahala rasgulla.
Up north by the Hooghly the view is different. They say it was Nabin Chandra Das, who lived Bagbazar in North Kolkata in the 1860s, first prepared the sweet meat which became an instant hit and was liked by the Gora Sahibs so much that a number of Vice Roys even got tins of them packed as gifts for fellow countrymen in the Mother Country. Subsequently, KC Das, a descendent, discovered Spring Rasgulla which had a longer shelf life and export viability.
“I thank Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her enduring support to fight the case,” said Dhiman Das of KC Das Private Limited, one of the biggest Rasogolla makers. While a lady from Bhubaneswar tweeted curses on Banerjee, said, “Though I like and love the sweet, it will not remain as sweet as it used to be earlier.”
Across the fence where emotional fighters cross swords the businessmen silently pulled up their shocks for a better tomorrow when they will be able to attach the “bragging rights” to translate the victory into good business.
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