We Bengalis are exceedingly sensitive regarding our culture (and proudly so!). We simply love to get offended if the shworolipi of a Rabindra-Sangeet isn’t correct, or if the shorshe (mustard) in Bhapa IIlish doesn’t have enough kick. We love to tell people that the correct way to say “flowers” in Bengali is “phool” or you are a “FOOL”.
So when the government of Odisha claimed that Roshogollas originated in Odisha instead of Bengal, of course all hell broke loose. Adamant to the core, we Bengalis fought back once again to protect what is rightfully ours. Several research committees were set up by both states; departments of science and technology started to trace back the earliest geographical location of roshogolla.
According to Odisha, roshogollas have been made in Puri for over 700 years as a traditional offering to goddess Lakshmi at the Lord Jagannath Temple. It originated as Kheer Mohanawhich evolved into Pahala Rasgulla.
Recently, Bengal won the Geographical Indication for its beloved, the roshogolla, ending almost three years of battle over its origin with Odisha. The Government has traced Roshogolla’s origin to Nabin Chandra Das, a 19th century sweetmaker in Bengal.
Does this sweet news really matter to Kolkattans?
Here’s what foodies across Kolkata had to say about it:
“As a proud Bong with a sweet-tooth, I can’t deny the initial rush of satisfaction on hearing the news. But as a student of history, I’m ill-disposed to rigid identifications. At the end of the day, it’s a delightful gastronomic heritage which belongs to all Indians and the world. While the roshogolla’s meandering saga, decidedly fascinating, should be debated and studied, it is worrying when state machineries are mobilized for such a matter while far more critically serious issues are at hand.”
– Akash Chattopadhyay
“Sweets are undoubtedly a huge part of Bengali culinary culture, and to think of Bengali sweets without thinking of rosogolla is unimaginable. So even though weBengalis have always laid the strongest claim on the sweet, to get a legal stamp on it is definitely ‘sweet’ news.”
– Rashmi Banerjee
“Food should never be defined by a particular geographic boundary, it should be allowed to travel. It doesn’t matter where the roshogolla originated, what matters is hearts of how many regions it won!”
– Upasana Ghosh
“To be very honest, I really don’t care about this. Given the morbid situation of the nation, a food item making headlines seems really sad to me.”
– Pallavi Mitra
“Roshogollas are my favourite sweet and as long as I can keep having them, I do not care about their origin – who made it and where. But now that it officially belongs to Bengal, I feel proud that we can finally call this beauty ours.”
– Arghya Protim Bala
“Roshogolla which was claimed to be invented in Odisha is actually pahala roshogolla, and the one we have in Bengal is sponge roshogolla. Comparing them both is like comparing jhalmuri and bhelpuri…both are made of muri and look similar, but are different products.”
– Indrajit Lahiri, Moha Mushkil