A Gamcha is not just a piece of cloth or a normal towel, but for some people, it is a social sign and a significance of utmost pride. In Bihar, you will see it in every house and they cherish it like a crown. But do you know the stereotypes some people created while associating Gamcha (a traditional striped cotton towel) as non-smart-casual wear? One of such incidents dates back to 2019 where a renowned author ignited the ‘Gamcha Revolution’ on the internet.
On 11th November 2019, popular Hindi author Nilotpal Mrinal was denied entry to a restaurant in Delhi’s Connaught Place just because he graced his attire with a Gamcha. Mrinal shared his uncomfortable and disappointing experience on Facebook and later addressed the incident by saying, “I was just returning after participating in the Delhi government’s Purvanchal Mahotsav programme. As I was making my entry into the Q-Ba restaurant, the manager said, with a smile on his lips, that ‘you cannot enter this restaurant. This is looking bad and is not suitable to the place’s ambience’.” While browsing through the menu, Nilotpal said he found an interesting item called “laharia samosa”. “I told the server that your manager was blocking my entry as I was carrying a gamcha and here you are using a Bhojpuri word in your menu. Why could you not find a suitable English replacement word for this?” And later what sparked the internet was this post :
Soon after the incident, the internet got filled with solidarity posts, messages and related content. People especially from Bihar and UP, felt offended and saw the incident as a brazen violation of their regional identity. This was when the ‘Gamcha Revolution’ started after the incident took the internet by a storm.
The revolution went in such a turn that On 13th November, AAP leader Dilip Pandey visited the same restaurant carrying a gamcha. Some people wore gamchas and aired a ‘Facebook Live’ from outside the restaurant. Some people even encountered the same restaurant carrying gamchas to eat food. After all this outrage, On 17th November, few people dressed the manager with a gamcha too and put an end to this series of symbolic protests. Later it was found out that most of the working staff in that restaurant were themselves from Bihar and UP. To make amends, the restaurant then asked its staff members to start wearing gamchas at work, giving a win signal to the ‘Gamcha Revolution’.
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