The sweet delicacy of India ‘Rasagola’ was always kept in the light for its controversial geographical belongingness. It finally receives a Geographical tag (GI) tag from the Registrar of Geographical Indication.
The controversy took started when West Bengal walked away with GI tag recognition for Rasagola. The Odisha government reopened the battle for ownership of the delicacy and won the rights over ‘Odisha Rasagola’.
The government has accepted the uniqueness and the originality of the sweet with proof or origin and antiquity tied to boundaries of Odisha. The Odisha Rasagola will now be handled by the Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC) and they will be the registered holder of the GI tag and will receive all the legal and intellectual protection available for the product.
The origin of Rasagola has its base in Puri Jaganathan Temple where as per the rituals of “Niladri Bije”, the Rasagola is a bhog which is traditionally offered to Devi Lakshmi on behalf of Shree Jagannath. It is as per the Record of Rights.
The record goes on to say- “Odisha Rasagola is a sweet delicacy from the state of Odisha, made with chhena cooked in sugar syrup, which is very soft to feel, juicy and non-chewy consistency and can be swallowed without teeth pressure. Colour development of Odisha Rasagola is very specific, where without the addition of external colour, various intensity- coloured Rasagolas are prepared using the principle of caramelisation of sugar with specific methods of preparation. Generally, the Odisha Rasagola is white in colour with a round shape (non-spherical) but off white Rasagolas in various shades are prepared by cooking Rasagola at 110 degrees C for about 40 minutes in which caramelisation of sugar takes place giving the off white colour,” said the report.
The reference for this popular sweet delicacy can also be rooted in 15th century Odia Ramayana written by Balaram Das. Das’s Ramayana is known as Dandi Ramayana or Jagamohan Ramayana as it was composed and sung at the Jagamohana of the Puri Temple.
The registration of Rasagola is confirmed to section 16 (1) or of authorisation Section 17(3)(c) of Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 on Monday. In 2017 when Bengal chief minister announced the GI tag for Rasagola, a thunder of political and social outcry was triggered in Odisha, which had a rich legacy of Rasagola. “It is a proud moment for everyone involved in the exercise,” Sanjay Gandhi told TOI