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Rasgulla vs. Rosogolla – A Bitter Battle of Sweet

Rosogolla
Image Credits – Social Media

The fight over the perceived sweet of Bengal, Rosogolla, became highlighted when the Odisha government requested the acknowledgment of “Odishara Rasgulla” and asserted it to have started in Odisha itself. While both the states professed to have a solid association with the sweet’s inventiveness, both also needed lawful security as the geographical indication. The legitimate status of geographical indication and its insurance expect massive significance considering its super business potential. Without legal protections, the contenders working in the market who have no connection to the rights related to the geographical indication attempt to use it for their generosity and construct solid market notoriety for them and across the world.

History of Battle over Rasgulla

In the scenery of the nineteenth century, it was Nabin Chandra Das, a renowned sweet producer of Bengal who is considered to have made the delicacy sweet of Bengal, Roshogolla, at his home in Bagbazar, Kolkata. The fight over the sweet come about after Odisha Government began observing July 30th as the Rasagulla Dibasha (Rasagulla Day), asserting that the sweet was a piece of their custom for over hundreds of years and that it was utilized as a bhog served to Lord Jagannath on the last day of Rath Yatra since days of yore.

The fight over the renowned sweet had raised in 2015 when Mr. Pradip Kumar Panigrahi, the Science and Technology Minister of Odisha had asserted that different panels set up to distinguish and reveal the genuine history behind the roots of the sweet had concocted proof to help and demonstrate the movement that Rasgulla had existed in Odisha for around 600 years. The West Bengal government to protect its way of life and legacy requested for a GI tag on the name of ‘Banglar Rasogolla’. A request was recorded by the Odisha government in this way challenging the same on the grounds of originality. Neglecting to give generous proof, the request was excused and the GI tag was granted to ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ in November 2017.

This wasn’t the end to the fight over the sweet. The war turned bitter when in 2018, a subsequent appeal was filed by Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC Ltd.) and Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti for the sake of the State of Odisha thinking about the texture and taste of the sweet that varies from its adjoining state, accordingly requiring the affirmation of the GI tag on Odishara Rasgulla. Further, an Odia scholar, Asit Mohanty, asserted that he discovered the word Rasgulla in the Odia Dandi Ramayana, which traced back to the fifteenth century and was composed by a writer of medieval times, Balaram Das.

Geographical Indication of Rasgulla

Geographical Indication’ alludes to a sign utilized on products with a few characteristics, qualities, and reputation from the geographical origin. There should be a clear link between the product and the place of creation. In India, the act which provides security to Geographical Indications is The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

A GI Tag is a kind of intellectual property that perceives the origin of a product. The GI registration office is in Chennai. Once the GI is granted the unapproved utilization of geographical indication gives it a unique identity. 
Talking about this sweet, Odisha’s Rasgulla is a very soft feel, delicious and non-chewy with a ruddy texture assortment and can be gulped with no teeth pressure. The Bengali Rasgulla is roundabout fit, milky white in shading, and essentially spongy yet chewy. Both have special qualities and remarkable personality that separates them from each other.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) discusses GIs’ security at global levels. In 1999, Darjeeling Tea turned into the main product in the nation to have packed away a GI tag. Following these, 344 additional items got GI labels, out of which 34 have a place with Tamil Nadu. The Dindigul lock and Kandangi saree starting from Tamil Nadu dreaded a dim future for the perishing interest of individuals in them. The artisans trusted that the GI tag could work on this condition and popularize it once more. 

The year 2019 saw 14 additional products to this rundown which included Kandhamal Haldi from Odisha, Himachali Kala jeera, and Himachali stew (apricot) oil from Himachal Pradesh, Coorg Arabica espresso from Karnataka, etc. Presently the noteworthy city with the imperial legacy is doing the rounds of information for the GI tag of the world-renowned Mysore Pak. With the end registration goal, the item should go under the domain of Section 2(1)(e) of the Act. Further, the product ought to likewise maintain Section 9 of the Act, which sets out specific boundaries that prevent the registration of a product from happening.

Determination of Geographical Indication Registry

In November 2017, West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation Limited got the GI selected as ‘Banglar Rasogolla.’ It was viewed as that Bengal won the torpid fight among Odisha and Bengal on who may claim the eminent sweet. The genuine battle for the GI enrollment began when an issue with the GI Registration was archived, alluding to the beginning of this famous sweet was in the Jagannath Temple of Puri in Odisha.

In February 2018, an application for the expulsion of the registration of the GI status was recorded which is still forthcoming. Meanwhile, in July 2019, the GI Registry told that Odisha got the GI enlisted as ‘Odisha Rasagola,’ following which many reports expressed that Odisha didn’t lose the race yet got a tie.

However, the important note is that the GI Registry has not offered registration to the term ‘Rasgulla or Rasagola.’ It has explicitly prefixed two words to the GI tag, one is ‘Banglar,’ and the other one is ‘Odisha,’ in this way, suggesting that ‘Rasgulla or Rasagola’ is a generic word which anybody in their exchange and business can utilize. Along these lines, undoubtedly, neither of the states has got a monopoly on the word ‘Rasogolla or Rasagola’. In this way, it is free for anybody in the trade to keep selling the sweet as Rasogolla or Rasagola or some other equivalent word. What is precluded is the utilization of the word ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ and ‘Odisha Rasagola’ by anybody other than the ‘authorized user’ under the law. The enlistment of the “Odisha Rasagola” was done under Section 16(1) of the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999.

‘Banglar Rasogolla’ vs ‘Odisha Rasgulla’

Rasgulla
Image Credits – Social Media

The sweet is found nearly in all sweet shops down all through the country. Under Section 9(f), the GI Act states that GIs confirmed generic names would not be registered as GI. Regarding what exactly is a generic word, the clarification provided under Section 9 of the GI expresses that “generic names or indications,” corresponding to products, implies the name of goods. Even though it identifies with the place or the region where the goods were initially delivered or fabricated, it has lost its unique significance. It has turned into the usual name of such goods. In determining the generic name, all factors shall be considered, along with the current situation in the region or place in which the name begins and the space of utilization of the products.

The point that West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation Limited petitioned for ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ and not simply ‘Rasogolla’ and that in its application for the registration of ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ under the section ‘specification’, it has expressed that it is a “syrupy dessert or sweet famous in all over West Bengal just as India and abroad” explains that this sweet isn’t restricted to the territory of West Bengal.

When looking into the formality check report given by the GI Registry, requested the applicant to show the uniqueness from the ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ alongside correlation or contrasts with other Rasogolla prepared in different Places of India, yet in the answer given to the formality check report, the applicant couldn’t recognize the uniqueness of the Banglar Rasogolla to other Rasogollas of different places.

At the point when an application was recorded before the Registry for dropping of registration of Banglar Rasagolla, referring to that the sweet began in the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha and if at every one of them a GI registration is to be given to this sweet assortment, it is the territory of Odisha who is the genuine inquirer, the candidate likewise referenced that Rasagola contrastingly spelled as Rasgulla, Rasogulla, Rasogolla, and so forth and known as Rasbhari or Rasbari in Nepali is a syrupy dessert famous in the Indian subcontinent and districts with South Asian diaspora.

Subsequently, it can be said that the registrar was justified in providing separate GI tags for the similar dish to two unique States for their particular style for the most loved Rasagola inferable from its quality and attributes. The progression is proper in securing the interests of the makers of the foodstuff of both the states. Besides, the difference in both the products shields the customers from misdirection and also guarantees monetary flourishing for both the states. Also, these various names and separation guarantee that no homonymous struggle emerges in the future between the two gatherings. Subsequently, the progression of giving the GI tag to the State of Odisha in 2019 was suitable and right in nature.

Conclusion

Legacy is something that all Indians are glad for. Each state has its own language, customs, colors, importance, and heritage which they can’t think twice on any grounds. This is presumably the very motivation behind why both the states were profoundly associated with the sweet fight then.

The fight over the origin of food products to get GI tags has been listed from one side of the planet to the other. There have been fights among different nations for food products. One such is the dish named Kimchi. There was a fight among Japan and South Korea in 1996 as to the beginning of Kimchi. In 2008, Israel and Lebanon squabbled about Hummus. As globalization advances, numerous local cultures once in a while have an apprehensive outlook on losing “their” products to other people. The fight between Odisha and West Bengal might have gone to a draw however the conflict over Rasgulla’s origin will proceed for some more years to come. Eventually, regardless of the outcome, Rasgulla from any place will taste similarly as sweet as others.

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