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 and Bengali 'gamosas' into half and stitching them together to felicitate guests as the issue led to sharp criticism from several quarters.
Members of the Bangla Sahitya Sabha stated that the concept was borrowed from a similar specially stitched scarf used by another organization more than a year ago. However, this had not led to any controversy back then.
On Sunday, the Bangla Sahitya Sabha on its first state-level conference honoured an Assamese-Bangla paired gamosa to their guest including Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu. With the photo of Ranoj Pegu adorning the paired gamosa around his neck, a photo of Bimal Borah smiling as he was looking at the gamosa on his hands also has been making rounds on social media.
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.
Speaking on the issue, BSSA working president Khagen Chandra Das and general secretary Prasanta Chakraborty said, "We had adopted this idea as symbolic of harmony between Barak-Brahmaputra valley. However, a section of people in the state have not accepted this concept. We apologise for hurting anyone's sentiments unintentionally and we shall be more careful in the future to ensure no recurrence of any such incidents.”
The BSSA claimed that they had borrowed the idea of the special stitched scarf from a similar one used to honour dignitaries at a programme in Silchar by another organisation about one-and-half-year ago.
While there was no controversy back then, it has led to sharp reactions now, the BSSA statement pointed out, adding that it hoped that the issue will subside as it apologized over the matter.
Notably, Assam Linguistic Minority Development Board chairperson Shiladitya Dev on Monday stated that there is nothing wrong with adorning the two gamosas, saying it is a sign of communal harmony.
He also wondered how embellishing both pairs of "gamosas" could cause controversy in a session where proceedings began with the state anthem "O Mur Apunar Dekh".