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'We have evidence that the rasgulla is from Odisha'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Last updated on: September 04, 2015 11:45 IST
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Where did the rasgulla originate from? Is the dish originally from Odisha or West Bengal?

Claims and counter claims have followed Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's declaration that the rasgulla is a Bengali dish.

Both eastern states have applied for a Geographical Identification tag and the battle could get, well, more distateful.

Priyadarshi Mishra, a Biju Janata Dal MLA, took on Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Odisha assembly on August 27, and declared that Bengal does not have the moral authority to claim the rasgulla as a Bengali dish.

Mishra explained to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com why the syrupy sweet desert is a dish from Odisha.

Why do you claim that the rasgulla originated from Odisha?

Odisha's Jagannath Rath Yatra started in the 11th century and the rasgulla has since been associated with the state. We also serve it to Goddess Mahalaxmi for appeasement.

Besides, many herbs and ingredients used in the making of the rasgulla come from Odisha.

Why is the rasgulla then associated with Bengal?

It is wrong to claim this because there is no evidence.

In the late 18th century, Nobin Chandra Das (a popular Bengali confectioner and businessman) made the rasgulla popular, isn't it?

That history is only 150 years old. The rasgulla has had its presence since the 11th century.

How would Odisha benefit if it is declared that the rasgulla is its dish?

The rasgulla is in our culture and in our tradition.

The rasgulla is from Odisha and everyone knows it is associated during the Lord Jagannath festivities.

Why is there this perception that the rasgulla is a Bengali dish?

You can call the sandesh (a dessert made with milk and sugar) a Bengali dish, but not the rasgulla.

We have evidence that the rasgulla is from Odisha.

What did you say in the Odisha assembly?

I raised this point in the assembly after reading an article that the West Bengal chief minister said the rasgulla is a Bengali dish.

Does Odisha have an official sweet dish?

The rasgulla and chhena poda (literal meaning, burnt cheese) are our sweet dishes.

Moreover, we have a rasgulla training institute (the B K Industrial Training Centre) in Cuttack. This is the only rasgulla institute in India.

What will you say to the West Bengal chief minister?

Everybody knows that rasgulla is Odisha's dish and is associated with Odisha's culture.

Did you speak to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik about this?

The chief minister has taken a note of my arguments in the assembly.

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com in Mumbai
 
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