The list of significant attributes of a Bihari goes on like a long veil. And amongst which is a Bihari Gamcha which always finds a place in almost all households. Made with two words ‘Ga’ means “body” and ‘mocha’ means “to wipe roughly”, this one’s a kind of towel used mostly for drying the body and wiping off sweat. What is more, to celebrate is that this one’s not a trend or a stereotype, but an element of pride for all Biharis. Tied on the forehead, or falling off shoulders, this is a tradition that has continued to flaunt for generations now.
And now what we hear is that our long-lived fashion quotient is now turning out to be the world’s ‘new cool’. What else shall make the headlines today? Well, there’s always the buzz why bees are spreading sweetness! And in this case, there are many reasons why a Bihari Gamcha is the talk of the town. First up, it’s because of the material. The Bihari Gamcha textile is mostly cotton or acrylic, generally found in a checked stripe print and is purely hand woven with thread counts going up to 470. Made with utmost hard work by the craftsmen, this cloth is known for its super absorbent powers making it perfect for use as a towel.
Even to fulfil the upfront fashion market, the embroidered and ornamental pieces are being made with silk and wool but does that laborious and time-consuming process ask for a costly revenue? Absolutely not. On average, a Bihari Gamcha price ranges from INR 100 to a maximum of 500 (for the designer ones). And that sounds way too cheap in front of the benefits count it has. The comfortability is its best quotient. It dries off your sweat and body in a smooth spree. In villages, it is also used as a slingshot to fight wild dogs, wolves and even leopards that have strayed into settlements or fields.
A Bihari Gamcha even turned to an alternative of face masks during the Covid times, after the Prime Minister of India once made a television appearance wearing a Gamcha. There are more such benefits and reasons why people have started recognizing a Bihari Gamcha as the ‘new cool’ but the major one is that it reminds us of our roots, history, ancient culture and the feeling of homeliness. In the world running out of villages, it takes us back emotionally to those mud pelted roads. A Gamcha may be the world’s new cool, but for Biharis, it’s a traditional emotional tool.