Boiling materials like neem leaves, tea leaves, basil (tulsi) leaves, turmeric (haladi), mint (pudina), bark of pomegranate, aloe vera, honey etc in water for sometime makes the solution an active disinfectant – Textile researcher Dr Jayanta Dev Sarma
GUWAHATI: Novel coronavirus has cast a shadow over the world. COVID-19 lockdown has led to scarcity of masks and essential commodities, making people to pay through their noses. But then, the people of Assam can make masks in an indigenous way during the lockdown. Even some may take it as a commercial venture.
The use of mask is to prevent infection of virus from a person or thing carrying it. It is a proven fact now that the Assamese gamosa can be used as a better mask in preventing all viral infections.
“Fabrics like that of cotton, silk, wool etc have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities. Such fabrics can do wonders when treated with some anti-microbe plants. Boiling material like neem leaves, tea leaves, basil (tulasi) leaves, turmeric (haladi), mint (pudina), bark of pomegranate, aloe vera, honey etc in water for sometime makes the solution an active disinfectant. Masks and any other wearing when dipped into this water attain the quality of disinfectant. When a piece of gamosa is soaked in this boiled water the gamosa can make a better mask than some of the ordinary masks available in the market and sold at high prices now,” said Textile researcher Dr Jayanta Dev Sarma.
This is not the only edge which gamosa has over other ordinary masks. The use of gamosa as a mask is quite in sync with our culture. People distributing prasad is Assamese naamghar covering their mouths with gamosa is a common scene in the State. People using gamosa to prevent viral infection, including the infection of novel coronavirus, can be taken just as an extension of its use in all activities, apart from cultural ones.
According to Sarma, the handloom products of the tribal people of Assam like arnai of the Bodos and pajal of the Rabhas can also be used as masks. “Eri masks are also sold in the State. The special quality of eri is that it’s an all-weather fabric that can be used in the winter as well as the summer. Eri is 100 per cent natural, anti-fungal/bacterial, odourless, etc,” Sarma said.