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'Gamocha': Symbol of Culture & Identity of Assam Receive GI Tag

The 'gamocha,' a rectangular cotton cloth handwoven with red borders and various designs and motifs. Assamese people have traditionally offered it to elders and guests as a sign of respect and honour.

Shivam Dwivedi
GI tag is bestowed upon 'Gamosa,' bringing joy to thousands of weavers
GI tag is bestowed upon 'Gamosa,' bringing joy to thousands of weavers

The central government has granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to 'Gamocha,' a symbol of Assamese culture and identity, five years after the first application. Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal shared the GI registration certificate issued on Tuesday on Twitter, eliciting applause from residents across the northeastern state.

A GI is assigned to agricultural, natural, or manufactured products, handicrafts, and industrial goods that originate in a specific geographical territory.

"A day of pride for Assam, as our #Gamosa receives a Geographical Indication Tag by the Government of India," Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Sarma expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, frequently seen with a 'Gamocha' draped around his neck, and congratulated all Assamese on this honour.

Assam's pride is "shining bright," according to Union Shipping, Ports, and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. "Recognition of our heritage and cultural identity. "The GI tag is bestowed upon 'Gamosa,' bringing joy to thousands of weavers of this special item that has become a global symbol of Assam," he added.

Many prominent personalities and hundreds of social media users, including Assam ministers Chandra Mohan Patowary, Ajanta Neog, Atul Bora, Pijush Hazarika, and Jayanta Malla Baruah, expressed their delight at the 'gamocha' receiving the GI tag.

The GI tag has been registered under the Assam government's Directorate of Handloom & Textiles under the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. According to the directorate's application, the 'Gamocha certificate was awarded on October 16, 2017. The process began in 2017 when the Institute of Handicraft Development of Golaghat district applied for a GI tag.

Assamese people traditionally offer the 'gamocha,' a handwoven rectangular cotton piece of cloth with red borders and various designs and motifs, to elders and guests as a mark of respect and honour. It is an essential component of all socio-religious ceremonies in the state and is associated with Assamese identity and pride. A gamocha is a towel commonly used in Assamese households for day-to-day activities.

It is also made of expensive materials, such as traditional Assamese 'Pat' silk, and comes in various colours. A 'Bihuwan' is a 'gamocha' intended for exchange during the 'Bihu' festival. This one-of-a-kind scarf, found only in Assam, is also used as a symbol of reverence when decorating altars or covering religious books.

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