Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Assamese Gamosa 


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Assamese Gamosa

Mains level : Not Much

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the Assamese gamosa, a decorative cotton towel, evolve from memento to mask.


  • The Gamosa is an article of significance for the people of Assam.
  • It is generally a white rectangular piece of cloth with primarily a red border on three sides and red woven motifs on the fourth (in addition to red, other colors are also used).
  • Although cotton yarn is the most common material for making/weaving gamosas, there are special occasion ones made from Pat silk.


  • Assam has traditionally had two types of gamosas the uka and the phulam.
  • The uka or plain kind is used to wipe sweat or dry the body after a bath.
  • The phulam is decorated with floral motifs to be gifted as a memento or during festivals such as Bihu.


  • Cultural historians say the gamosa came to symbolise Assamese nationalism in 1916 when the Asom Chatra Sanmilan, a students’ organisation was formed, followed by the Assam Sahitya Sabha, a literary body.
  • Wearing the phulam gamosa around the neck became a standard for cultural identity.
  • Thegamosa’s graph as a symbol of protest rose during the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation from 1979 to 1985.
  • The gamosa staged a comeback as a political statement with the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act from mid-December 2019.

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