Assam: Bangla Sahitya Sabha Issues Apology for stitching Assamese and Bengali ‘Gamosas’ together


Amid rising controversy over an Assamese-Bangla paired gamosa, the Bangla Sahitya Sabha, Assam, (BSSA) tendered an apology for hurting sentiments through its act of cutting Assamese ‘Gamusa’ and traditional Mogolghot Bengali ‘Gamcha’ into half and stitching them together to felicitate guests as the issue led to sharp criticism from several quarters.

According to the BSSA working president Khagen Chandra Das and general secretary Prasanta Chakraborty, the concept of the specially stitched scarf was borrowed from another organisation that had used it over a year ago to honour dignitaries. One half of the scarf was an Assamese ‘gamosa’ with a red border on a white cloth, while the other half was of a red-and-white checked pattern used by the Bengali community.

The distortion of the Gamusa didn’t go well with the Assamese community of Assam. On the other hand, the Bengali community of the state questioned how traditional Mogolghot Bengali ‘Gamcha’ became the symbol of pride for the Bengalis.

The BSSA had adopted the idea as symbolic of harmony between the Barak-Brahmaputra valley. However, the act was not accepted by a section of people in the state, and protests against it were held in various parts of the state. The BSSA statement pointed out that there was no controversy when a similar scarf was used in Silchar, but it has led to sharp reactions now.

In its statement, the BSSA apologised for hurting anyone’s sentiments unintentionally and promised to be more careful in the future to ensure no recurrence of any such incidents. The organization also claimed that it hoped the issue would subside with the apology.

The controversy was deemed unnecessary by state Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, who had attended the conference and identified himself as a Bengali of Assam. However, many criticised the act, claiming that it was an insult to the Assamese ‘gamosa’ and that such acts would increase the divide.

The BSSA’s act of cutting and stitching together Assamese and Bengali ‘gamosas’ has sparked controversy and protests in Assam, leading the organisation to issue an apology for unintentionally hurting sentiments.