Bengaluru: The famed Mysore Pak is once again caught in a bitter controversy.
Two days after a columnist joked on Twitter that the Modi government had granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Mysore Pak to Tamil Nadu, the descendants of the Mysore Palace royal cook who “invented” the sweet have decided to officially file for the actual tag.
Speaking to ThePrint, Shivanand Madappa, the great grandson of Kakasura Madappa, “Yes, We have now decided to file for GI tag. We will consult with all the elders in the house and then approach the intellectual property office to seek a real GI tag.”
The GI tag is issued by the Geographical Indications Registry for a product that corresponds to a specific geographic location or origin, for instance, Darjeeling Tea. The right enables the tag holders to prevent third-party usage.
The Madappa family’s response came after local media in Karnataka picked up Anand Ranganathan’s tweet and misreported it, saying the two states are fighting over the sweet dish which is believed to have been developed in Mysore.
Pleased to receive this token of appreciation, on behalf of the one-man-committee for granting of the Mysorepak GI tag to Tamilnadu.
Talks are proceeding smoothly. WDTT. pic.twitter.com/khppaVijXt
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) September 15, 2019
Calling the tweet by Ranganathan an unnecessary provocation, the family said it felt it’s time they got recognition for spreading sweetness in the world.
“My great-grandfather, who invented the Mysore Pak, decided to set up a small sweet shop along the Dasara Jumbo Savari route 60 years ago. We are located in the main market area. This popularised the sweet all the more,” said Nataraj, another great grandson of Madappa who along with his family members runs Guru Sweets, the family sweet outlet in Mysuru.
“Five generations from our family have been learning the art of making Mysore Pak.”
Mysuru MP Pratap Simha has also said the government fully supports the idea of the family seeking a GI tag.
According to a report in The Times of India, Karnataka has the highest number of GI tag products in the country. Of the 42 products that have been given the GI tag in the state, 18 belong to Mysuru alone.
How Mysore Pak was ‘invented’
Former Mysore king Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (1902-1940) was known to be was a food connoisseur. Not only did he have a huge kitchen in the Mysore Palace, but he was also known to cook a dish or two himself.
Such was his taste for varied cuisines that he would ask his palace cooks to prepare different types of food from across the world as well as different types of prasadams, or temple offerings.
One day, the legend goes, the king sat down to have his lunch, but his royal cook Kakasura Madappa had forgotten to prepare a dessert course. When the king inquired about the missing course, Madappa had no option but to think on his feet. He quickly concocted an unusual mix of gram flower, ghee and sugar to make a soft fudge-like mixture. He presented this hot sweet to the king, who was ecstatic with the invention.
Madappa’s family says that when the king asked the name of this new sweet, the cook quickly made that up too — ‘Mysore Pak’ (in Kannada, pak means a fudge-like mixture), Nataraja said.