oppn parties Rosogolla War: Give GI to Both Pahala & Bengal

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Rosogolla War: Give GI to Both Pahala & Bengal

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
A big fight is boiling in the rosogolla kadhais of West Bengal and Odisha. At stake is the title of inventor of the sweet dessert famous all over India and abroad and the consequent GI status for it. Odisha is staking claim to be the inventor of Pahala rosogolla, named after a village on the outskirts of its capital Bhubhaneshwar. This kind of rosogolla is different from the ones made in West Bengal, which are a spongier version.

The government of Odisha is relying on myth and literature in support of its claim. Several food historians have also cited Puri temple logs to say that rosogollas were offered to Goddess Lakhshmi at the Puri temple much before Nabin Chnadra Das (of the famous K C Das and Sons) claimed to have invented the current version.Other historians are of the view that temples did not permit any spoiled or curdled (chhena is obtained by curdling the milk) sweet to be offered to the Gods. Pritha Sen in particular tends to think that the recipe might have been carried and introduced in Bengal by Odia cooks who were employed in large numbers in Bengali homes during that period.

A GI status, often denoted by a sign or words, would identify rosogollas as having originated in Odisha, much to the chagrin of Bengalis, who think that the sweet was invented in their state. It has come to certify that the product possesses certain qualities, is produced by traditional methods and enjoys a reputation due to its geographical origin. Further, the TRIPS agreement specifies that no country will protect a product for its GI if that product is not so protected in its country of origin. India is a signatory to the TRIPS agreement.

But in this fight, an important fact is being overlooked. GI is given as per geographical location. Hence, there is GI for Darjeeling Tea as well as for Assam Tea. So also there can be one GI for Pahala rosogolla and another GI for Bengal rosogolla. After all, both have certain distinctive qualities that make them different â€" in taste as well as in appearance. Certify them as per their origin and let the consumer decide which one is better and which one he wants to buy.