Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
An eminent culture-scholar Asit Mohanty had produced a well-documented thesis on how Rasagola originated in Orissa and became a distinguished dish of offering (Bhoga) in the system of Sri Jagannath.
His endeavor was meant for claiming the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for this pride innovation of the people of Orissa, famous always for their matchless creativity and culinary skill.
As and when a new dish of excellent taste is innovated by any Oriya, he wants to offer the same to Sri Jagannath and after detailed study of whether the dish is absolutely indigenous to Orissa, the Temple Administration / the Gajapati allows the offering, which, then becomes official dish and gets enlisted as a ‘Bhoga’. Thus a list of Chhapana Bhoga is in vogue, in the Sri Mandira system of Jagannatha, where any item, which is not indigenous to Orissa, is banned from being offered to the Lord. As for example, potato that mostly come from Bengal, being an imported vegetable called by Oriyas as ‘Bilati Alu‘ is banned from being used in Mahaprasad. This peculiar practice in Sri Mandira makes it unambiguously clear that Rasagola has its origin in Orissa; because, otherwise it would never have been used in Sri Mandira.
Some of the Bengalis, who for salvation rush to Puri always, possibly acquired the technique of Rasagola preparation from Puri and started projecting the same as a Bengali innovation, exactly as they had falsely claimed Sri Jaya Dev, the author of the love songs compiled as Gita Govinda. Innumerable legends were created to show Jaya Dev as Bengali and ultimately their claim over the great love-lyricist was found to be false. They have similarly created concocted literature to show Rasagola as their own. Oriyas were usually laughing at their pretense and ignoring their claim.
But when the GI phenomenon emerged, Sri Mohanty, an active sentinel of Orissan cultural uniqueness, genuinely apprehended that they may try to mislead the world on origin of Rasagola. Therefore, he urged upon the Government of Orissa with elaborate evidences in support of Rasagola’s Oriya origin, to apply for the GI Tag to this particular item of Orissa’s vast treasure of sweetmeat. The news clip shows that he presented his well researched document to the concerned Minister Pradip Panigrahi on 14th July 2016 along with a hundred enclosures.
Such incompetent is the incumbent political leadership of Orissa that the State was not allowed to claim the Tag under spurious pretenses till West Bengal obtained the tag for what she calls ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ on 14 November 2017.
Whosoever slept over the document of Asit babu is certainly an agent of Bengali interest. Had that not been so, the GI Tag to ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ could not have been granted, as it kills the very purpose and the spirit of the GI concept.
The GI Register has acted without application of mind in granting this Tag to Bengal. The very name – Banglar Rasogolla – is a very unambiguous confirmation of the reality, that, it is something, which is not the Rasogolla proper, but something that is created out of “Rasogolla” proper; the word “Banglar” being a qualifying prefix.
Minimum commonsense could have made the GIR understand that, “Rasogolla” proper must be belonging to a geographical location which never belongs to Bengal.
Hence, he should have gone for finding out the item’s real place of birth, for which the Law has also empowered him.
Thus the GIR, without application of mind, has given the tag to Banglar Rasogolla, which is deceptively similar to Rasagola originally created in Orissa. The tag deserves to be recalled, nullified.
When GIR order exposed that there was no application from Orissa for the Tag, caught naked, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wants to escape.
From what Minister Prafulla Samal has said, the government is eager to file its application for the Tag. Shockingly, it not to apply for nullification, recall of the Tag given to Banglar Rasogolla. It would apply, instead, for GI Tag to Jagannath Rasagola, a nomenclature which is never in existence in Orissa.
If any such application would be preferred, the State will be wronged yet again by the coterie of non-Oriyas that is controlling Orissa, taking advantage of political power concentrated in the hands of a person, who, despite being a chief minister for a fourth term, has not become an Oriya in nature and in spirit.
Rasagola, which is indigenous to Orissa, will never be registered, if the application is made for the new name ‘Jagannatha Rasagola’.
Somebody somewhere else may apply for GI registration of Rasagola and the same being a proper name, not qualified with any prefix, shall bag the Tag.
The non-Oriya officialdom, which, by willfully ignoring the documented argument advanced by Asit Mohanty, has destroyed Orissa’s sure possibility of getting the GI Tag for Rasagola, is determined to squander away Orissa’s exchequer by appointing non-Oriya lawyers to raise the case before the GIR, as if, Orissa is barren of legal brains. The secret design may be investigated into.
For our population to know how strong was the case of Orissa for GI Tag to our Rasagola, I am giving here the links to what Asit babu had helped the government with, to claim the Tag.
This is the link to his unedited document in English which he had handed over to the concerned minister, as noted supra, on 13th July 2016:
This is the link to his unedited write up in Oriya which the State’s official journal Utkal Prasanga has also carried in its July 2016 edition:
Sadly all the endeavors of this brilliant researcher were rendered inconsequential by the Government under mysterious circumstance.
It seems, in the impasse over Rasagola, as the Government is preferring a non-existent name instead of the proper name, under the de facto non-Oriya chief minister Naveen Patnaik, whose non_Oriya dominated officialdom is preferring a non-Oriya lawyer to an Oriya lawyer in the case to be raised before the GIR, Orissa is again in the trap against Orissa.