‘Odisha Rasagola’ finally gets GI tag

Context

  • The rasagola, a popular dessert of Odisha, has received the geographical indication tag from the Registrar of Geographical Indication after years of controversy around the sweet.

Details:

  • The registration was conferred to ‘Odisha Rasagola’ under Section 16(I) or of authorized Section 17(3)(c) of Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 on Monday. The GI number 612 has been registered in favour of the Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC Limited), a government of Odisha undertaking and Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti, a traders’ organisation, in the foodstuff category.
  • According to the application submitted to the Registrar of GI, ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is a sweet from the state of Odisha made of chhena (cottage cheese) cooked in sugar syrup, which is very soft to feel, is juicy and non- chewy in consistency and can be swallowed without teeth pressure.
  • Colour development of the ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is very specific, where without addition of external colour, various intensely-coloured rasagolas are prepared using the principle of caramelisation of sugar with specific methods of preparation, the application said.
  • The application further says Odisha Rasagolas are white in colour with round shape (non‐ spherical) but off white rasagolas in various shades are plentily prepared by cooking the rasagola at 110 degree Celsius for about 40 minutes in which caramalisation of sugar takes place giving the off white colour. The area of production of Odisha Rasagola has been shown all 30 districts.
  • Both Odisha and West Bengal have been contesting the origin of the rasagola. Historical records submitted say the ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is associated with world famous Puri Jagannath Temple.

Historical Records;

  • As per Record of Rights, this is the duty of Bhitarachha Sebaka. It is mentioned in Bhitarachha Sebara Niyama and published in Record of Rights, Part‐III, The Orissa Gazette, Extra‐ordinary, Law Department Notification Dated 12 October, 1955. The reference of rasagola is found in the late 15th-century Odia Ramayana written by Balaram Das. Balaram Das’s Ramayana is known as Dandi Ramayana or Jagamohana Ramayana as it was composed and sung at the Jagamohana of the Puri Temple,” it saidys.
  • In its ‘Ajodhya Kanda’, another religious script, one comes across elaborate descriptions of chhena and chhena‐based products including Rasagola.
  • Famous Odia writer Fakir Mohan Senapati, famous writer of Odisha, in his writing Utkal Bhramanam published by Utkal Deepika on August 27, 1892 mentioned about the plentiful use of rasagola in Odisha during those days.
  • Similarly, on December 14, 1893, a poem titled, ‘Bali Jatra’ was published in the weekly “Indradhanu” written by poet Damodar Pattanayak. The poem was an eye‐witness of Cuttack’s famous, historic fair, Bali Jatra (Journey to Bali Island of Indonesia) and mentioned that sweets shops were looking attractive in presence of Rasagola and other sweets.

Source:TH