Project Tk 50cr to brighten up muslin

Chiffon is a symbol of Bangladesh’s golden heritage and nobility. The muslin fabric made by the weavers of Dhaka became a status symbol for the wealthy and aristocratic class in the past. Photo: star/file

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Chiffon is a symbol of Bangladesh’s golden heritage and nobility. The muslin fabric made by the weavers of Dhaka became a status symbol for the wealthy and aristocratic class in the past. Photo: star/file

The government has set up a project of about Tk 50 crore aimed at developing and expanding the production of chiffon fabrics in the country.

Under the project, titled “Bangladesh’s Golden Tradition Muslin Yarn Making Technology and Recovery of Muslin Fabrics (Phase-2)”, a training center will be set up at Dhakai Muslin House in Rupganj upazila of Narayanganj, according to the director of the Ayub Ali project.

In addition, a testing laboratory will be set up at the Chiffon Textile Research Center while the number of available spinners will be increased to 300, he added.

Ali, also the planning director of the Bangladesh Handloom Board (BHB), went on to say that at the end of the first phase, which started in July 2018 and ended in June 2021, the number of trainee weavers in the frame of the project had grown from a paltry six to 75.

Since then, the number of trainee weavers at Muslin House has grown to 226 at present.

Similarly, the second phase of the project will last for three years.

BHB sources said that a development project proposal in this regard will be submitted to the Ministry of Textiles and Jute later this month, after which it will be sent to the Planning Commission for final approval.

The BHB was supposed to bring muslin fabrics to the domestic market by the middle of this year, but Ali said he couldn’t meet the commitment for various reasons.

“There is no end of development in making this elite fabric, with which it costs around Tk 6-7 lakh to make a saree. As not everyone can afford it, we are testing now if it can be used for simpler clothes. . let’s see what happens,” he added.

The first phase of the project, which involved Tk 12.1 crore, came about after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the Ministry of Textiles and Jute in October 2014 if the long-lost craft could be restored.

A committee for this purpose was eventually formed consisting of experts from BHB, Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation, Cotton Development Board, Bangladesh Textile University, University of Dhaka and Rajshahi University.

Although they were given a much larger budget, the works were completed for only Tk 4 crore and when the BHB offered to return the rest, the government decided to extend the project and include the construction of Muslin House.

As such, Muslin House was built on the banks of the Shitalakhya River in the municipal area of ​​Tarab, the air of which is conducive to muslin weaving.

In the first phase of the project, a research team of experts and spinners made 19 chiffon fabrics, from which six sarees, seven veils and six sample fabrics were made.

Following their breakthrough, the team claimed that the fabrics are similar to muslin preserved in the UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Museum of Bangladesh.

Manjur Hossain, scientific director of the project, said they will find more advanced varieties of cotton for spinning muslin. Currently, the cotton with which they make the required thread contains a lot of seeds.

“Farmers will also benefit if there is less seed and so, a research center for this purpose has been set up on four large plots inside the campus of Rajshahi University, where phuti carpus cotton is cultured,” he added.

Chiffon is a symbol of Bangladesh’s golden heritage and nobility. Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, Greek tourists Pintoni, Taylor, Urey and others described Bengal muslin in their writings.

Among various kinds of cotton textiles, Dhakai Muslin was well known all over the world. Muslin was made from very smooth yarns prepared from phuti carpus cotton.

During medieval times, the muslin cloth made by the weavers of Dhaka became a status symbol for the wealthy and aristocratic class. In 1747, exports from Dhakai Muslin brought in Tk 28.5 lakh, the researchers found.

The fall of the Mughal Empire, the lack of patronage from British rulers, the expansion of the East India Company, the Industrial Revolution in England, the imposition of high taxes on muslin and the cutting off of weavers’ fingers were the main causes of loss of muslin fabric. since the middle of the 19th century.

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