11 May, 2021

Sweeter Is My Case

Bengal and Odisha rejoin battle over the roshogolla

Hot Mouthful
The Roshogolla
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Sweeter Is My Case

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

—William Shakespeare

Likewise, a roshogolla, call it what you will, would taste as sweet. And so it would, had the del­ectable dessert, a moonlike orb of smooth, spongy cottage che­ese, dipped and cooked in sugar syrup, had emerged out of just any kitchen.  Yet, of late, it has been mercilessly squeezed between two sta­tes, Odisha and West Bengal, who are eng­aged in a bitter battle over ownership rights over India’s favourite sweet, each claiming its origins. And if a jubilant Bengal thought they had the last juicy bite of the stuff last year, a new development should sober the celebration.

The legal duel started in 2015, when both states applied for a Geographical Identification certification, which gra­nts trademark rights to specific regions, cultures, communities or societies as inventors of certain products or foods, with the primary objective of preventing fraud or adulteration. But the GI...

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