Monday 12 April 2021

Indigenous Knowledge, IPR, Rasgulla And Indian Sweets #RasagolaA2Z


That was the purpose of our celebration - to end the Rasgulla debate and controversy and settle it in the favour of truth and research i.e. in Odisha's favour.
However, even today, there is much misinformation regarding Chhena and Rasgulla "invention" both on internet and offline.
Rasgulla is just thought to be synonymous with another state and its capital city, and not Odisha. Searches on internet reveal the ignorance. Odisha is still not being given any credit for Rasgulla despite being this dessert's birthplace.
Source: Twitter
Rasgulla preparation and continuing tradition and rituals associated with "Odisha Rasagola" are a part of Odisha's indigenous knowledge i.e. traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCE). IPR i.e. Intellectual Property Rights are of many types- one of which is Geographical Indication (GI).
The whole idea is to protect and preserve the "invaluable treasures of incredible India". However, when it came to filing the GI Tag for "Odisha Rasagola", many felt that this is a useless work and GI is not needed.
Last year, it was very inspiring to read this report about the Republic of Vanuatu. In 2018, it-
Put forward by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, the act says that having such legislation in place “provides an avenue where the custom owners of such traditional knowledge can register their custom knowledge and gain legal rights to protect their custom knowledge”.
The minister used the similarity of ‘Nagol’ to bungee jumping as an example of possible prior consent not being given.
Nagol, or ‘land diving’, is a ritual performed on Vanuata’s Pentecost Island. Performed by the men of the island, the ritual involves them jumping from a constructed wooden tower, around 20 to 30 metres high, with vines draped around their ankles connected to the tower to catch their fall.
This ritual occurs every year at the end of Vanuatu’s monsoon season, and is said to have inspired the inception of modern bungee jumping, a worldwide phenomenon in adventure tourism that came to popularity in the 1980s.

Indigenous elders call for recognition 

John Huri, a member of Vanuatu’s Intellectual Property Office who helped draft the bill, believes the legislation will not “retrospectively” help chiefs like Luke Fargo gain royalties from bungee jumpers.
Speaking to ABC News, Huri said the enactment of the bill will, however, help prevent any future exploitation of Vanuatu’s traditional customs.
“The issue of Nagol [is one] where the local people stand aside and see people coming in and getting their knowledge and commercialising it … without properly acknowledging and asking the people whether they give their consent to it,” Huri told.

The above shows how serious and protective some nations are regarding their indigenous knowledge and IPR. 

The Rasgulla GI case has been a wake-up call. India must also focus on indigenous knowledge and IPR.

There are many Indian food-stuffs, agricultural goods, handicrafts etc. that are reputed and linked to respective geography. IPR and GI is a way to do branding and also to protect the interests of the producers and the community.

Some find this Rasgulla issue 'sickening', 'tiring' and 'boring'; while others feel this 'fight' is 'silly and inconsequential'. Misinformation about Rasgulla continues. We have two choices- either accept the misinformation regarding Rasgulla or share the facts and make everyone aware.

This writer has been consistently and persistently writing and sharing about this topic from 2014 onwards. Dedicated efforts have been to settle this Rasgulla debate and to put an end to this controversy once and for all. Thus, this writer had initiated the Rasagola Dibasa - Rasgulla Day celebration on social media in 2015. Thereafter, this writer had facilitated the filing of the 'Odisha Rasagola' GI application. Odisha has earned the GI Tag for Odisha Rasagola in July 2019. However, the misrepresentation and misleading, biased, and fake news reports, articles, and videos still continue. Such propaganda must stop. Rasagola's Odisha origin must be known and accepted. Only when the truth is shared, people can learn and be aware. May truth triumph.

I’m participating in the April #A2ZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

I For- Indigenous, IPR, Intellectual, Indian, India, Internet
I am writing A-Z posts about Rasagola26 Rasagola posts this April.
This sincere attempt is to share information about Rasagola/Rasgulla.
Rasagola is a part of Odisha's traditional knowledge, continuing tradition, cultural heritage and identity.  
You can check out my other Rasagola posts here.
This is my fifth #A2Z Challenge, and my last four challenges have been about Odisha, India. 
Are you aware of Rasagola/Rasgulla? Did you know that the Rasgulla originated in Odisha? 
Please do share any information about Rasgulla that you may have and which you feel must be documented and shared so that all are aware.  


  1. Never knew there was so much to this debate. I had heard of it in passing but your facts as astounding
    Deepika Sharma

  2. It is so true. The art and skill of making Rasagola is an indigenous tradition of Odisha and others tried to appropriate it.

  3. I can only say this , that so much rightful facts and information, May truth alone triumph !


Your words mean a lot to me.

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