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But Orissa clapped back
For Orissa's Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera, it
was as if Champagne had been re-designated to
Normandy. So he swiftly claimed this was not
necessarily a loss.
two Indian states
feuding over a
It's a spongy, sugary, syrupy ball of milk, and the
neighbouring Indian states of West Bengal and Orissa,
both want a piece of it. Finance ministers are involved,
chief ministers are weighing in and the row is trending
on social media. What is going on?
Essentially, it's about who gets to claim rasgulla, a
regional dumpling delicacy that has beguiled millions
of Indians and a source of regional pride, as their own.
The two-and-a-half year battle has involved historians,
centuries-old documents and specialised committees all to find out which state can lay claim to this dessert.
On Tuesday, West Bengal got a taste of sweet victory,
as India's Commerce and Industry ministry gave the
state a ‘geographical indications’ (GI) tag for rasgulla.
According to the World Trade Organisation, a
geographical indications tag credits a good or product
as having originated from a certain region or place. It's
a mark of authenticity and adds credibility which could
help monetise the sweet further.
West Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wasted
no time welcoming the ruling in a tweet.
Mr Behera told the Times of India newspaper that there
is nothing stopping the state from filing its own
application for the geographical indications (GI) tag,
as there are local variations of the dessert.
West Bengal has acquired the tag for ‘Banglar
rasagolla (Bengali rasgulla)’, which Orissa claims to be
different from its own in taste, texture, and colour. While
the Bengali one is cream-coloured, officials in Orissa
claimed theirs was darker in tone and not as ‘chewy
and sticky’.
How did this all begin?
The feud can be traced back to September 2015,
when the Orissa government celebrated a festival
called ‘Rasagalla Diwas,’ which the state said referred
to a mythical story in which the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
was presented with a bowl of the dessert by her
husband in an effort to appease her after he left her
Ever since, the two states have been locked in an
intense battle over who the true owner of the dessert is.
Last year, a committee, headed by cultural researcher
Asit Mohanty, was formed in Orissa to settle the issue,
which they supported with a 100-page historical report
that was submitted to the state's department of
science and technology, reported one Indian
Shortly after West Bengal got credit for their rasgulla, Mr
Mohanty told the Times of India that his research so far
has found mentions of the dessert in 15th Century Orissa
They hope to compile all of their findings and produce
a comprehensive report to file their own application
seeking the geographical indications (GI) tag.
But many on social media have already started
celebrating on behalf of West Bengal.
Residents of Orissa are silent, but it looks like the state
isn't ready to accept defeat just yet
(Source: BBC)