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Geographical Indication for Perfumes and Fragnances: Capturing India’s Aromas

A geographical indication (GI) is a label placed on items that originate from a specific geographical origin and have traits or a reputation that stem from that origin. A sign has to recognize a product as coming from a specific location in order to operate as a GI.

Furthermore, the product's traits, characteristics, or reputation should be primarily owing to its origin. Because the attributes vary according to the geographical location of production, there is an obvious link between the product and its original location of production.

What Right does GI provide?

A geographical indicator right allows individuals who have the right to use the indication to restrict a third party from using it if their product does not meet the appropriate criteria. For example, in jurisdictions where the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, producers of Darjeeling tea can prohibit the use of the term "Darjeeling" for tea that was not grown in their tea gardens or produced in accordance with the standards outlined in the geographical indication's code of practice.

A protected geographical indication, on the other hand, does not allow the holder to restrict someone from producing a product using the same processes as those specified in the standards for that indication. A geographical indicator is often protected by gaining a claim over the sign that forms the indication.

How the Right of GI is Protected

There are four major techniques to safeguard a geographical indication:
  • So-called sui generis systems (i.e. particular regimes of protection);
  • using collective or certification marks;
  • Methods concentrating on corporate activities, including administrative product approval schemes; and
  • Through unfair competition legislation.
These methods differ on fundamental issues such as the prerequisites for protection and the depth of protection. On the other hand, two kinds of protection � sui generis systems and collective or certification mark systems � have some characteristics, such as the establishment of rights for collective use by those who conform with stated requirements.

Geographical indicators are broadly protected in many nations and regional systems utilizing a wide range of ways, frequently combining two or more of the approaches listed above. These techniques have been created in line with various legal traditions and within the context of specific historical and economic circumstances.

Status of GI tags in India

India, famed for its unique culture, is the origin of various arts and crafts that have evolved throughout time. Nine new GIs have been introduced from various Indian states, including Gamosa from Assam, Tandur Redgram from Telangana, RaktseyKarpo Apricot from Ladakh, and Alibag White Onion from Maharashtra.

With this, India now has 432 GI Tags in total. Darjeeling tea was the country's first product to be classified as a geographical indication. DPIIT has collaborated with other partners on many programs in which distinctive GI items displayed Indian history, culture, and entrepreneurial activities under a united banner.

Geographically indicated (GI) products are those whose attributes or reputation are attributed to their distinct geographical origin and have a defined geographical origin. In India, the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 safeguards GI products. Darjeeling tea, Alphonso mangoes, Banarasi silk, and Kannauj Perfumes and Fragrances are few examples of GI products in India.

Geographical Indications (GI) for Products are a type of intellectual property rights (IPR) that are often associated with a country's geographical indications. A name like this gives a feeling of superiority and originality, owing to its origins in a certain location, region, or nation.

Importance of GIs in supporting rural economies in India

Certain communities across the world are well-known for their particular goods, on which their livelihoods are heavily based. A GI mark recognizes these commodities while also preserving the economic wellbeing of their providers. These artisanal items are typically connected with cultural and regional identity, and they reflect a lengthy history of workmanship, community, and civilization. GI tags allow producers to differentiate their items and market them as authentic, allowing future generations of craftspeople, chefs, and other professionals to continue their traditional techniques.

Inclusion in rural regions
The GI-labeled traditional products not only represent the local character via the integration of natural resources and cultural practices, but they also evoke nostalgia. These items provide inhabitants with a sense of belonging and are an enticing tool for tourists interested in learning about rural identities.

Externality that is advantageous
Professionals are also protected from industrial tactics and competitive pricing by GI labeling. By earning premium brand pricing and expanding exports, the tags help to the formation of a legacy and the mobilization of local funds. Furthermore, GI-tagged items contribute to local employment growth, which may aid in reducing rural-urban migration, sustaining livelihoods, and raising people's living conditions. These commodities may also produce positive externalities by enhancing revenue and job opportunities throughout the supply chain.

History of Indian Perfumes and Fragrances
Indian Fragrances has a long history of perfume and aromatic smells. With a vast mass of over 3 million km and a multitude of aromatic plants and flowers � from lilies in the north to champa in the south, and jasmine planted virtually everywhere � India has traditionally put social and cultural value on aromas and odors. Aromas were derived from plants and used as gifts in religious events, according to ancient literature dating back over two thousand years (1).

Further works from almost a century ago speak of India's unique, scented wealth, with "frankincense trees anointed with their own resin, and perfumed with the fragrance of nalik forests." From the early Middle Ages, items like sandalwood, saffron, and camphor were seen as symbols of luxury, prosperity, and status. During that ancient period, a prosperous and international trader dealt in aromatics; the aromas of oils and incense filled their homes, and the value of aromatics is still present in India now.

Perfumes do, in fact, ground us. They connect us to place by reminding us of where we first smelt them or where they come from. In ancient texts, the warm scent of sandalwood was associated with the south of India, whereas sweet saffron was associated with the north. They were riches and emblems of prosperity in India's past, as well as markers of region and culture. Their symbolism was documented in ancient poems and subhitas, and their significance was passed down through the ages.

"Perfume" derives from the Latin for "through smoke," and smell via smoke � incense � has been used for eons in India. Yes, it is a symbol of riches and grandeur, but it is also a symbol of faith - aromatics and smells have long linked the devout to their Gods. Consider the camphor flame, which represents the bond between man and divine � ties are formed through scent and smoke.

Fragrances linger and take on significance, connecting individuals as well as memories and the past. Scents become spiritual markers, reminding us of individuals who have passed away. The scent of familiar perfume in the air or the usage of aromatics such as agarwood in funeral rites conjure up images. The significance of Indian scents cannot be overstated.

Ni'matnama, or the Book of Delights, a 1470s literature, chronicles how important perfumes and sensory pleasure were to India's aristocracy. Ghiyath Shahi, the author, ruled over a region of central India, and he jotted down pages of recipes for rosewater essences and other oils.

Precious paper and bark were used to record how infusions were made, because smells increased opulent life; the Book of Delights documented all kinds of sensual delights, with the ruler's obsession with perfumery recurring. His written record finally made its way to the British Library in London, the core of the establishment.

India was and is a place where fragrances count and are deeply significant, in what they represent, whom they connect, and the emotions they evoke.

Geographic Indication for Perfumes and Fragrances in India

The Persian/Arabic term attar means aroma, smell, or essence. The attar is created when the aroma of flowers, herbs, and spices is gathered by hydro-distillation on a base material, such as sandalwood oil. Essential oils are aromatic volatile and liquid molecules derived from natural sources, most commonly plants.

Essential oils are not oils in the strictest sense, although they, like oils, have low water solubility. Because essential oils frequently have an odor, they are employed in food flavoring and perfumery. Aroma extraction procedures such as distillation (including steam distillation), cold pressing, or extraction (maceration) are commonly used to create essential oils.

Kannauj essential oils are made using the distillation procedure. Essential oil is created following hydro-distillation when the base material is not used. Rose Water is the liquid or hydrosol that remains after hydro-distilling flowers in the Deg when making rose oil.

Kannauj's perfume industry produces scents (attars), essential oils, incense sticks, dhoop sticks, hawan material, gulkand (rose petals and sugar sweetmeat), rose water, and aroma sprays. Kannauj is recognized as India's perfume capital.

Sandalwood oil is the greatest basis for attar because of its chemical characteristics. The original sandal perfume thins down during distillation as it absorbs the aroma of flowers.

Sandalwood oil may be extracted using distillation machines. Sandalwood is native to India's south-western states of Karnataka and Kerala.

Farmers in the areas surrounding Kannauj, such as Aligarh, Etah, Farrukhabad, and Mainpuri, cultivate flowers and offer their harvests to the Kannauj attar business. Fragile flower distilling equipment have been put in the interiors where the flowers are cultivated to distill them as soon as they are picked.

Rose comes from Hathras and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh and Palanpur in Himachal Pradesh, Khus from Bharatpur (Rajasthan), Chameli from Chandoli in Jaunpur district, Raat Rani from Viaywara district (Andhra Pradesh), Kewra from the coastal areas of Burahanpur and Ganjam in Orissa, and Saffron from Jammu and Kashmir. Kannauj's indigenous crops include Jafrani Ganda, Maulshri, Jasmine, Kadamb, Merigold, Henna, and Gul henna. Spices and herbs are sourced from India's North-East states and the Himalayan area in the north.
On the basis of flower (raw material utilized), attars are characterized as follows:
  • Gulab (Rosa Damascena or Rose Edward)
  • Kewra (Pandanus Odaritismus)
  • Motia (Jasmimum Sambac)
  • Gulhina (Lawsonia Alba)
  • Chameli (Jasmimum Glandiforum)
  • Kadam (Antochephalus Cadamba)
  • Khus (Vetiver)
  • Henna (Lausonia Inermis) and its various forms like Shamama, Shaman-Tul-Amber, Mus Amber, and Musk Henna
  • Mitti (Gill from the baked earth of Kannauj)
The following plants are grown in Kannauj and neighboring regions for the production of attar and essential oils:
  • Mentha Arvensis (Mentha Arvensis)
  • Palmarosa or Rosa Grass (Cymbopogon Martini)
  • Cymbopogon Winterianus (Citronella)
  • Neebughas (Cymbopogon Flexuosus) or Lemon Grass
  • Pogostemon Patchouli (Patchouli)
  • Tulsi (Ocimum Basilicum)
  • Rose (Rosa Damomila)
  • German Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomila)
  • Marigold or Genda (Tagetes Spp.)
  • Bela or Jasmine (Jasminum Sambae)
  • Henna or Mehendi (Lausonia Inermis)

Proof of Origin [Historical Records]:
The distillation of scents, perfumes and fragrant liquids and ointments was one area where the knowledge of chemistry was applied in India since ancient times. The fact that the very word scent which is of unexplained origin, according to Oxford Dictionary, is possibly derived from Sanskrit word Sugandha. Sandalwood oil is reported to be an export item since ages. The Greek text of the First Century A.D. Periplus mentions sandalwood as one of the items being imported from India. The sandalwood tree is native of India and is found in South-Western region of India.

The reference to sandalwood in the Periplus is perhaps the earliest available western reference to sandalwood. Sandalwood has been mentioned by Comas Indiwpleustes in the 6th century A.D. as Tzandana and thereafter it is frequently referred to by Arab traders. There are evidences in the history and Hindus sacred books indicate the existence of perfumery tradition to over 5000 years and goes back to the Indus valley civilization. The history of attars is associated with the history of Kannauj.

Kannauj has been known for natural attars from the Mughal period or even earlier when aroma bearing substances like sandal, Musk, Camphor, Saffron were used as such and the range of such materials and essential oils were enriched during the Mughal period when new plants were brought by the Mughals from the Central Asia.

This was the beginning of the natural attars in India which developed and flourished in and around Kannauj and is quite strong even now. The attars of Rose and Kewra are two unique attars to India which constitute 80% of all the attars produced at Kannauj. Perfumers' stamps Gandhikanama of 2 B.C. made of copper have been found in Koshambi.

It establishes the fact that perfume trade goes back at least to the 2 B.C. in the Koshambi region. It is a well-established fact that Kannauj is a very historic place and this town saw its most glorious time during the period of Emperor Harshvardhan (606- 647 A.D.) as his kingdom's capital. The replica of Golden coin of Emperor Harshvardhan in the museum of Kannauj indicates the wealth of the Emperor Harshvardhan's kingdom.


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