A bitter interstate war over rosogolla’s provenance

Odisha claims that the rosogolla was actually born there. Photo: C. V. Subrahmanyam  

Paintings by Bengal masters like Jamini Roy adorn the walls of the nearly 100-year-old Rosogolla Bhavan, the ancestral north Kolkata residence of K.C. Das, now all decked up to defend the family’s claim that the iconic Bengali dessert is indeed an invention of the great-great-grandfather of its present generation.

This follows the bitter war between two neighbouring States — Odisha and West Bengal — over the genesis of the syrupy sweet balls made of cottage-cheese. Although West Bengal is almost synonymous with rosogolla (better known as rasgulla), Odisha has staked claim to have “invented” the sweet years ago, associating it with a centuries-old ritual of Lord Jagannath.

Like the Das family, the Mamata Banerjee government has swung into action and has begun preparatory documentation for getting a Geographical Indication (GI) registration for the rosogolla. “Yes, we have initiated the documentation process prior to submitting our application,” Science and Technology Minister Robi Ranjan Chatterjee told The Hindu.

Odisha’s claims that the rosogolla was actually born in that State got louder, following the recent Nabakalebera and the Rath Jaatra festival. In a ritual, Lord Jagannath offers sweets to his consort Lakshmi Devi to pacify her for not being taken along during the chariot ride.

Dhiman Das, great-great-grandson of Nobin Chandra — said to have invented the sweet — feels that the controversy has perhaps reached a crescendo and now needs to be settled. “The sweets offered to Lord Jagannath were never made of chhana [casein] and so they cannot be called rosogolla. They look different and are made differently,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 1:51:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/a-bitter-interstate-war-over-rosogollas-provenance/article7582037.ece

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