Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Assam cheers as ‘Gamocha’ towel gets GI tag

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‘Gamocha’, a symbol of the culture and identity of Assam, has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the central government, five years after the first application was made.

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Twitter shared the GI registration certificate, issued on Tuesday, bringing cheers to people across the northeastern state.

A GI is tagged to primarily agricultural, natural or manufactured products, handicrafts and industrial goods originating from a definite geographical territory.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “A day of pride for Assam, as our #Gamosa gets a Geographical Indication Tag by the Government of India.”

Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is often seen with a ‘Gamocha’ draped around his neck, Sarma congratulated all the people of Assam for this recognition.

Union Shipping, Ports and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal stated that Assam’s pride is “shining bright”.

“Due recognition of our heritage & cultural identity. ‘Gamosa’ gets the GI tag, bringing joy to thousands of weavers of this special item that has become a global symbol of Assam,” he added.

Along with Assam ministers Chandra Mohan Patowary, Ajanta Neog, Atul Bora, Pijush Hazarika and Jayanta Malla Baruah, many prominent personalities and hundreds of social media users expressed their happiness over the ‘gamocha’ getting the GI tag.

The GI tag has been registered in favour of the Directorate of Handloom & Textiles of the Assam government under the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The certificate has been awarded for ‘Gamocha’ as of October 16, 2017 as per the application by the directorate.

The process was started in 2017 when an application for a GI tag was filed by the Institute of Handicraft Development of Golaghat district.

The ‘gamocha’, a handwoven rectangular cotton piece of cloth with red borders and different designs and motifs, is traditionally offered to elders and guests as a mark of respect and honour by Assamese people.

It is an integral part of all socio-religious ceremonies in the state and is considered as an Assamese identity and pride.

A ‘gamocha’ literally means a towel and is commonly used in Assamese households for day-to-day affairs.

For specific purposes, it is also made of expensive materials like traditional Assamese ‘Pat’ silk and in different colours as well.

A ‘gamocha’ meant for exchange during ‘Bihu’ festival is known as ‘Bihuwan’.

This unique scarf, which is found only in Assam, is also used as a signifier of reverence while decorating altars or covering religious books.

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