Gamusa holds great significance for the people of Assam. This indigenously woven white rectangular piece of cloth with red borders is offered to people marking respect and gratitude.
The intricate design motifs often depict nature and Bihu festivities. However, an award-winning environmentalist from Assam, Purnima Devi Barman took to Twitter to share images of the humble gamusa with beautiful hargila (greater adjutant storks) motifs.
This gamusa is a perfect gift for your loved and dear ones in far off lands because apart from signifying the handloom of Assam, it also highlights the need to conserve the endangered greater adjutant storks. The motif of the bird done in red is extremely eye-catching.
Barman is said to be the crusader for the conservation of these bird species. She explored different methods to promote community-based wildlife conservation and hand-woven gamusa and mekhela chador with hargila motifs are among them.
Under Barman’s supervision, hundreds of women across Kamrup – Dadara, Pachariya, Singimari – have been mobilized into a wide team of conservationists working jointly for the protection of the scavenger.
These women, also known as the Hargila Army, are now on a mission towards changing perceptions and increasing the storks’ habitat. With sustained efforts, the number of nests has increased from 30 to over 150.
The winner of the prestigious Whitley Awards and accredited with ‘Earth Hero’ title by Royal Bank of Scotland, Barman is also known as ‘Hargila baideo’ for her dedication to saving the massive wedge-shaped bird.
It may be mentioned that last month Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had released a documentary on the bird species produced by a team of Cornwell University, USA in Janata Bhawan. Sonowal also hailed Barman and her team for their dedication towards the protection of the bird.
Reportedly, out of the 1200-1800 estimated storks population across the globe, around 800 are found in Assam.