On November 14, 2017, the Indian State of West Bengal received the Geographical Indication (GI) certification for Rasgulla after a 26 months legal tussle with the neighboring state of Orissa.
In 2015, the state of Odisha declared “Rosogola Diwas” to celebrate the Odia origin of the sweet. West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation Limited legally countered the statement by filing a claim for a GI tag at the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademark (hereinafter referred to as the ‘CGPDTM’) for the sweet claiming that the dish was originated by the renowned sweet-maker Nobin Chandra Das in the year 1868. Thereafter, Odisha also asserted to be the origin of the sweet claiming that it was offered to Lord Jagannath.
West Bengal’s submission was based on Haripada Bhowmik’s book on Rasogolla which stated that the item was first seen in the form of “Della Rasogolla” in the year 1860 in the town of Fulia in Nadia District. They also submitted that the main ingredient for this sweet is “channa”, which as a word does not exist in any other language other than Bengali, and it is derived from the Sanskrit work “chinna” which means torn, broken, fragments of Milk. The technique of making sweets from “channa” was taught exclusively to Bengalis by the Dutch and Portuguese colonists in the 18th century. Its Bengali origin was also strengthened by the fact that in the 15th century “channa” was introduced to the Bengali cuisine, however, it was consider inauspicious to serve this to the Gods including Lord Jagannath.
In the reply to the examination report, as available on the website of the CGPDTM, it is stated that there are more than 1,00,000 sweat-meat shops in West Bengal that are dedicated to Rasogolla, and the sale of ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ produces approximately Rs. 3600 crore in a year. Thus, obtaining a GI tag would help in the trade, export, quality, and authentication of the unique product.
A comparative study was conducted between the Banglar Rasogolla and other sweets of the same kind. Tests were done based on the color, texture, taste, moisture, etc., which subsequently proved the uniqueness of the Rasogolla. Scientific and microbiological analyses too were conducted which yielded the same result.