The soft white mithai doused in a sugary syrup might leave a bitter aftertaste for some. West Bengal has finally won the battle for the Geographical Indication or GI tag for rasgulla, (or rosogolla, if you’re Bengali), leaving the other contender Odisha. A favourite almost all over India, the rasgulla has been at the centre of a long-drawn tussle between the states of Odisha and West Bengal. While Bengal had gone on record to say that the delicacy was invented in erstwhile Calcutta by confectioner Nabin Chandra Das in 1868, Odisha claimed that it was invented in Puri, in the 13th century. According to the state, the first avatar of the rasgulla was the Oriya sweet ‘kheer mohana’.A few years ago, things got serious when the West Bengal government filed a court petition along with an application for a Geographical Indication (GI) recognition for the Rasgolla. Odisha wouldn’t back down. The state too applied for a GI tag for the sweet. In 2015, its science and technology minister Pradip Kumar announced the setting up of a committee that would trace the ‘actual’ origin of the sweet. The committee did eventually present a 100-page report to support their claim.Over the years, the battle only became murkier and had become more of a prestige issue for both sides. While Bengal’s CM Mamata Banerjee has presented the sweet meat as a cultural ambassador of the state, the Odisha state government in 2015, launched a social media campaign #RasagollaDibasa along with an exhibition to celebrate the sweet and in 2016 celebrated Rosogolla Divas.
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