Gasshi Festival of the Char Chapori Muslims of Assam

in Module
Published on: 27 November 2019

Md Shalim Muktdir Hussain

Md Shalim Muktdir Hussain is a doctoral candidate at the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, where he researches on Assamese literary aesthetics. He is also a writer and translator. His first book of poems, ‘Betelnut City’, won the RL Poetry Award (Editor’s Choice), 2017.

Gasshi is an agricultural festival celebrated in Assam on the eve and the first day of the Kati/Kartik month. While Kati Bihu is the Assamese festival usually associated with the arrival of Kartik and is celebrated by the majority of Assamese population, Gasshi is celebrated by the Bengal-origin population of Assam. Gasshi, however, has lost its quasi-religious nature among the Bengal-origin Muslims and has been reduced to a set of performances practiced primarily by children, and it is important to look at the factors that have contributed to the same. The module looks at Gasshi as it is celebrated by the Bengal-origin Muslims of Assam. It explores the intersection of religious and secular rituals associated with the festival and how modernity and a contemporary understanding of Islam have affected the prevalence, practice and performance of Gasshi.