In a sweet victory for Odisha, the GI Registry of India on Monday (July 29) conferred the GI tag to Odisha for its version of Rasagola, the syrupy sweetmeat made of cottage cheese.
The Registrar of Geographical Indications, Chennai, has issued a certificate registering the sweetmeat as ‘Odisha Rasagola’ under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. The certificate will be valid till February 22, 2028, sources said. A GI tag recognises a product as distinctive to a particular locality or region.
Announcing the news on Twitter, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik shared the GI certificate given to Odisha.
Happy to share that #Odisha Rasagola has received GI Tag in Geographical Indication Registry. This mouthwatering culinary delight made of cottage cheese, loved by Odias across the world, is offered to Lord Jagannath as part of bhog since centuries #OdishaRasagola pic.twitter.com/9SchxLaAcv
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) July 29, 2019
The award of the GI tag comes in the backdrop of a bitter war between Odisha and West Bengal over the ownership of the sweet preparation, since 2015. The fight spilled over to social media in 2017, after Bengal was awarded a GI tag for ‘Banglar Rosogolla’. The application for the GI tag for Odisha Rasagola was moved by Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC), together with Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti (association of sweetmeat traders), the following year.
The GI tag was conferred after Odisha submitted documents and proofs validating the history of the sweet, its unique form and preparation among other details in March 2018. The tag was granted after a review by the GI Registry office.
Welcoming the development, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Pradipta Naik said the tag should have been earned by the state long ago. “It got delayed due to negligence on the part of the state government,” the BJP leader said.
Rasagola has been a part of the state’s centuries-old rituals performed for Lord Jagannath and found its mention in a 15th century Odia epic Dandi Ramayana. Noted researcher Asit Mohanty, who had submitted a report to the government claiming that Rasagola has been mentioned in ancient Odia literature, said people in the state had been relishing the dessert for more than 500 years.
Mythology has it that Lord Jagannath on his return to Srimandir after the Rath Yatra, a week-long annual sojourn, tries to woo back his angry wife, Goddess Lakshmi with an offering of ‘rasagolas’ after she locks the entrance of the Jagannath Temple, upset at her husband for not taking her along. The ritual is called Niladri Bije, the day the three deities return to the Srimandir. The day is being celebrated as Rasagola Dibas in Odisha since July 2015.