As Assam finds itself firmly in the grip of a Covid-19 outbreak, Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, citing the example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has urged the people of the state to use the gamusa as face covers or masks.
Taking to Twitter moments earlier, the Health Minister wrote, "Gamusa is the symbol of rich culture & vibrant history of Assam. Honourable PM Sri Narendra Modi using gamusa to cover his face makes us gleam with both happiness and pride. I request people of Assam to also use gamusa to cover their faces as replacement of mask."
Gamusa is the symbol of rich culture & vibrant history of Assam.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 23, 2020
Hon PM Sri @narendramodi using #Gamusa to cover his face makes us gleam with both happiness & pride. I request people of Assam to also use Gamusa to cover their faces as replacement of mask.#AssamCares pic.twitter.com/LfWqS90cgr
Modi, it may be recalled, has time and again shown his affection towards the Assamese gamusa and has on numerous occasions worn it around his neck as a fashion accessory.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister wore a gamusa on his neck and also used it to cover his face as a mask during a visit to Cyclone Amphan ravaged West Bengal. During his visit, he announced relief packages worth Rs 1,500 crore -- Rs 1,000 crore for Bengal and Rs 500 crore for Odisha -- for the states that have seen extensive damages after the storm made landfall in India before heading off to Bangladesh.
Previously, during the nation's diya jalao event, the PM was seen wrapping a gamusa around his neck and a mundu from the South, as a message of national integration. The PM had initially given a clarion call for the event, which entailed turning off of electric lights and lighting earthen lamps, candle lights, and mobile phone flashlights, to show united resolve to fight and defeat the Covid-19.
It may be recalled here that prior to the general elections in 2019, Modi, in a candid chat with Bollywood megastar Akshay Kumar had professed his love for the gamusa and hailed its healing properties. "After a hard day's work, whenever I used to be in pain, the gamocha of Assam used to work as a pain reliever for me. And it does so even now", Modi told Kumar in the highly-publicized interview that was aired on April 24, 2019.
Again, on January 15, 2019, with Assam on the boil over the Citizenship Amendment Act issue, Modi wore the gamusa on his neck while offering prayers at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram. Posting the pictures on Twitter, Modi wrote, "Prayed for the development of India and the peace and happiness of 130 crore Indians."