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Dacca muslin historian William Digby (Prosperous British India) estimated that the population of Dhaka dropped from

200,000 to 79,000 between 1787 and 1817; the export of Dacca muslin to England amounted to 8,000,000 rupees in 1787; in 1817, nil. The fine textile industry, the livelihoods of thousands, and the self-sufficient village economy, were systematically destroyed.Muslin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Woman's muslin dress, Europe, c. 1855. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.2007.211.755. Muslin (/ˈm sl n/ or /ˈmjuˈsl n/) is a loosely-woven cotton fabric which originated in then India (and now Bangladesh), which was introduced to Europe from the Middle East in the 17th century. It became very popular at the end of the 18th century in France. Muslin is most typically an unbleached or white cloth, produced from carded cotton yarn. It is often used to make sewing patterns, such as for clothing, curtains, or upholstery. Because air moves easily through muslin, muslin clothing is suitable for hot, dry climates. Contents [hide] 1 Etymology and history 2 Uses 2.1 Dress-making and sewing 2.2 Culinary 2.3 Theater and photography 2.4 Medicine 3 References [edit]Etymology and history

Muslin clothes were traded by ancient Greeks from the Indian port town Machilipatnam, which was called Maisolos or Masalia in ancient times. Some believe that the name muslin originated from the name Maisolos.[1] Marco Polo, the famous traveller, visited the Kakatiya kingdom in which Machilipatnam was located and praised the muslins available there.[2] In 1298, Marco Polo described the cloth in his book The Travels. He said that it was made in Mosul, Iraq.[3] Although this view has the fabric named after the city where Europeans first encountered it (Mosul), the fabric is believed to have


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originated in Dhaka, which is now the capital of Bangladesh.[4][5] In the 9th century, an Arab merchant named Sulaiman makes note of the material's origin in Bengal (known as Ruhml in Arabic).[5] The word muslin is also used colloquially. In the United Kingdom, many sheer cotton fabrics are called muslin, while in the United States, muslin sometimes refers to a firm cloth for everyday use, which in the UK and Australia is known as calico. In British slang, muslin used to refer to women or femininity, while in nautical slang, muslin can refer to a vessel's sails. [edit]Uses

[edit]Dress-making and sewing

In Advantages of wearing Muslin Dresses! (1802), James Gillray caricatured a hazard of untreated muslin: its flammability.

Marie Antoinette, in 1783, in her famous "muslin" portrait When sewing clothing, a dressmaker may test the fit of a garment, using an inexpensive muslin fabric before cutting the intended expensive fabric, thereby avoiding potential costly mistakes. The muslin garment is often called a "muslin", and the process is called "making a muslin". With the availability of inexpensive synthetic fabrics, which closely resemble the hand (drape and feel) of expensive natural fabrics, a test or fitting garment made of synthetics may still be referred to as a muslin, because the word has become the generic term for a test or fitting garment. Muslin is also often used as a backing or lining for quilts, and thus can often be found in wide widths in the quilting sections of fabric stores. [edit]Culinary Main article: Cheesecloth Muslin can be used as a filter: in a funnel when decanting fine wine or port to prevent sediment from entering the decanter

chop. sometime headquarters of European trading companies in southern India. Muslin was manufactured in the city of Dhaka and in some surrounding stations. It is wrapped circumferentially around aneurysms or intracranial vessels at risk for bleeding. In the early days of silent film-making and up until the late 1910s. cannot be microsurgically clipped or coiled. to make apple juice: wash. then filter by pouring the mush into a muslin bag suspended over a jug) to retain a liquidy solid (for example. In video production as well. The origin of the word Muslin is obscure. It is commonly used as a background for the chroma key technique. it often gets a wavy look with the color varying slightly. most often with an abstract mottled pattern. mash. while others think that Muslin was connected with Musulipattam. when the milk has curdled to a gel. pour into a muslin bag and squash between two saucers (upside down under a brick) to squeeze out the liquid whey from the cheese curd) Muslin is the material for the traditional cloth used to wrap a Christmas pudding. by local skill with locally produced cotton and attained world-wide fame as the Dhaka Muslin. some say that the word was derived from Mosul. It is often used to create night time scenes because when it is dyed. Muslin shrinks after it is painted. It is used to mask the background of sets and to establish the mood or feel of different scenes. can be made translucent. making it clean and particle-free for sale.[6] The thought is that the gauze reinforces the artery and helps prevent rupture. but it is widely used because it makes an excellent painting surface. It receives paint well and. boil. in home cheese-making. Muslin is used by beekeepers to filter melted beeswax. an old trade centre in Iraq. [edit]Medicine Muslin gauze has also found a use in cerebrovascular neurosurgery. Muslin is not a Persian word. either precolored or painted with latex paint (diluted with water). It is often used for aneurysms that. so most interior scenes were sets built outdoors with large pieces of muslin hanging overhead to diffuse the separate liquid from mush (for example. if treated properly. so it is very likely that . nor Sanskrit. These backdrops are usually painted.[7] Muslin a brand name of pre-colonial Bengal textile. movie studios did not have the elaborate lights needed to illuminate indoor sets. especially of Dhaka origins. [edit]Theater and photography Muslin is often the cloth of choice for theater sets. It also holds dyes very well. such that it resembles a night sky. muslin can be used as a cheap greenscreen or bluescreen. Muslin is the most common backdrop material used by photographers for formal portrait backgrounds. nor Bengali. due to their size or shape.

Bengal cotton fabrics were exported to the Roman and the Chinese empires and they are mentioned in Ptolemy's Geography and the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. down to the coarse thick wrapper used by the poor people. The other kinds of cotton called bairait and desee were inferior and were produced in different parts of Dhaka and neighbouring areas. they gave the same name to Dhaka fabrics. they were used for manufacturing slightly inferior and course clothes. A huge quantity of the finest sort of Muslin was procured for the use of the Mughal emperors. or if the family was small two to three families joined together to manufacture the cloth. etc were also called Muslin. Golconda. But Dhaka Muslin became famous and attracted foreign and transmarine buyers after the establishment of the Mughal capital at Dhaka. Dhaka Muslin occupied a prominent place. belonged to a family of weavers. but cotton goods imported by the Europeans from other parts of India like Gujrat. That the name Muslin was given by the Europeans admits of little doubt.the name Muslin was given by the Europeans to cotton cloth imported by them from Mosul. which was grown in certain localities on the banks of the Brahmaputra and her branches. Muslins . because not only Dhaka cotton textiles. The finest sort of Muslin was made of phuti cotton. The productions of Dhaka weavers consisted of fabrics of varying quality. and by the ancient Chinese travellers. provincial governors and high officers and nobles. and when they saw the fine cotton goods of Dhaka. nawabs and so on. attracted a large number of visitors and the British Press spoke very highly of the marvelous Muslin fabrics of Dhaka. The persons connected with the manufacture of cloth. ranging from the finest texture used by the highly aristocratic people. The Muslin industry of Dhaka received patronage from the Mughal emperors and the Mughal nobility. and through Mosul from other eastern countries. In the great 1851 Exhibition of London. viziers. Fine white muslin (19th century) Contemporary embroidered muslin The textile industry of Bengal is very old. the emperor. from the cleaner to the maker of thread and the person who did the actual weaving.

Teetbady is a village in the Kapasia thana of Gazipur district. fine or elegant). Armenia. or the place of manufacture or the uses to which they were applied as articles of dress.Doorea (striped). The foreign traders came from far-off countries like Arabia. Dhaka Muslin was in great demand in the national and international markets. nawabs etc. Sonargaon is now in Narayanganj district. Rang (of transparent and net-like texture). Bajitpur. and the weavers spent a long time. Malaya. or some portion was used locally. Nayansukh (pleasing to the eye). Junglebary and Bajitpur. sometimes six months. Muslim or Hindu. Buddankhas (a special sort of cloth). Muslins procured for emperors were called Malbus Khas and those procured for nawabs were called Sarkar-i-Ala. sometimes mentioned as Malmal Shahi orMalmal Khas by foreign travellers.Khassa (special quality. Junglebary was for long a residence of the family of Isa Khan. The finest sort of Muslin was called Malmal. Charkona (chequered cloth). The Mughal government appointed an officer. where foreign buyers were ready with cash in hand. 15/20 miles away from Junglebary is also in Mymensingh district. to make a piece of this sort. These places were Dhaka. Jhuna (used by native dancers). The traders were active at Dhaka. it is the same place where the capital stands now. about 20 miles west of Dhaka.were designated by names denoting either fineness or transparency of texture. Java in the east. in the west. Muslins other than Malmal (or Malbus Khas and Sarkar-i-Ali) were exported by the traders. Shabnam (morning dew) Alaballee (very fine). were established. So the weavers of these places got support and encouragement from the aristocratic class. Names thus derived were Malmal (the finest sort). It was used by emperors. Jamdanee (figured cloth). Some traders . and China. the great banker. Local businessmen procured the cotton goods from theADANGs or manufacturing stations and sent them to Dhaka. but some places became famous for manufacturing superior quality of Muslins. These were also the places where the headquarters of ruling dynasties. Dhaka does not need introduction. and again capital of ISA KHAN in the Mughal period. Junglebary is now in the district of Mymensingh on the eastern bank of the river Brahmaputra. SONARGAON. Teetbady. Iran. It was costly. it was once the capital of Sultan FAKHRUDDIN MUBARAK SHAHand his son (1338-1353). The Malmal was also procured for the diwan and other high officers and for JAGAT SHETH. Dhamrai. Abirawan (fancifully compared with running water).Darogah or Darogah-i-Malbus Khas to supervise the manufacture of Muslins meant for the emperor or a nawab. Dhamrai is still an important place on the Bangshi river. because they were situated near the places where cotton suitable for manufacturing Muslins was produced. Kumees (used for making shirts). Tanzib (adorning the body). Seerbund (used for turbans). These places manufactured fine quality cloth. Weaving was prevalent in the Dhaka district in almost every village.

the Portuguese trade declined. paikars and also through their own officials. 1757. the English in 1669 and the French in 1682. By the beginning of the 17th and certainly by the middle of that century. The Ostend Company also came towards the beginning of the 18th century. nawabs and other high officials. the ENGLISH settled first at Hughli but later shifted to Calcutta and the FRENCH settled at Chandernagore. on the bank of the river Bhagirath. But the most important cause of decline and the ultimate extinction of the Muslin industry was the industrial revolution in England. so the companies imported hard cash. The Muslin industry of Dhaka declined after the BATTLE OF PALASHI. diwan and other aristocratic people (like the banker Jagat Sheth) were sent there. and by the middle of the 19th century was valued at less than ten lakh Rupees. the DUTCH settled at Chinsura. including those procured for the emperor. The Mughals not only lost their power and prestige but also their buying and spending capacity. the Muslins meant for the subahdar. bullion. and particularly of Dhaka. When they found their export of Muslin extremely profitable. the export of Dhaka Muslin came down to almost half of that of 1747. particularly the Muslin. The volume of the export trade of the European companies increased year to year. by the end of the 18th century. which introduced modern inventions in manufacture. The costly Dhaka cotton goods. Available estimates show that in 1747 the export of Dhaka cotton goods (chiefly of the fine variety of Muslin). to meet the growing demand of Bengal. the European companies came and established their settlements in Bengal. The Dutch set up their factory at Dhaka in 1663. With the establishment of the EAST INDIA COMPANY's monopoly over the trade of Bengal after the battle of Palashi. the PORTUGUESE at Hughli. The imports of European companies had no local markets. while others sent the Muslin to countries outside India. In the 17th century.were busy in inter-provincial trade. lost in competition with the cheap industrial products of England. so much so that they had to establish settlements and factories at Dhaka proper to feed the increased volume of trade. nawab etc was valued at rupees twenty-eight lakh and a half. The decline of Dhaka Muslin was due to loss of patronage from the Mughal emperors. they also established settlements at Dhaka. They procured Dhaka Muslin. which they sent to Delhi for the use of emperors and ministers. through dalals. Formerly Europe used to get the Muslin through Iranian and Armenian merchants. The government officials procured various types of Muslin. Their principal settlements were located near HUGHLI. but with the coming of the European companies and the establishment of their settlements in Bengal the export of Dhaka Muslin increased enormously. the trade of other European companies and traders belonging to other nationals practically came to a stop. [Abdul Karim] . When the capital was transferred to Murshidabad.

A Sketch of the Topography and Statistics of Dacca.C. while a mantle or cloak called drapi is recorded. China and Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia trade documents.C. VII. God is the weaver the fabric is man. The Indus (Harrapan) seals seen at Ur and other Mesopotamian cities convincingly corroborate that sea trade between these two regions had commenced as early as 2600 B. the laying of loom threads as warp and weft.C. Clay and metal seals from the Indus Valley sites depict human figures clothed in shawl like draped garments and loincloths held in position by woven belts and sashes. Traditional handloom textiles began their long journey in the earliest civilizations of India. The taste for dressing was epitomized in the words suvasas and suvasana meaning well clad. "An Account of Dacca. and continued up to 1800 B. leading us to believe that clothes were in use. dated 1800" in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan. mentioned Meluhha. Egypt and Mesopotamia and later to South Europe. silk. . 1844. Board's collection no. Historic events of the period from 3000 B. At the excavation sites of the Indus Valley dyeing vats show that the art of fabric dyeing was known and widely used. analyzed by scholars and anthropologists reflect the trade and cultural exchanges between the inhabitants of the Harrapan and Mohenjodaro region and Babylonia (Mesopotamia). In the subcontinent textiles are hallowed by ritual and spiritual connotation. to 1800 B. words for woof and web 'otu'.C. felted and tufted fabrics as well. London 1840. fuchsite inlay and jade were probably traded for the products of the Indus Valley settlers. but the find of a small shred of cotton cloth stuck to a pottery shard indicates that weaving was part of craft production. lapis lazuli stone. London 1851. Cotton. but in later times came to include knitted. No. turquoises. Gold and copper. timber and precious woods. and a bride wore the vadhuya at her marriage. beads. by former Resident of Dacca. A Descriptive and Historical Account of Cotton Manufacture of Dacca. Spindles and spinning whorls have been excavated from the sites of the Indus Valley while the cultivation of cotton and use of sheep's wool has been evidenced from the implements found for processing these fibres. Dhaka Commissioner's letter dated 2 may. April.C.C. such as cotton textiles. display cord or sacking (hessein) impressions on the clay seals testify to different weaving techniques. Fine weaving probably passed from India to Assyria. Descriptions of different types of dress for various strata in society are mentioned in the Rig-Veda. One can deduce that clothes of simplified forms were in use.2. The word derives from the Latin 'textiles' originally meant only for woven fabrics.) contains literary references to dress. thus supporting the archaeological finds of Harrapa and Mohenjodaro. dancing female and male figures of priests and deities. Female dancers used the embroidered garment or pesas. In ancient philosophies the universe is envisioned as a fabric woven by the gods. India office Records. wool and flex fibre were produced in many regions of the world and the skill and artistry of weaving occupied the imagination and dexterity of those ancient peoples. 'tantu' for yarns or threads and 'tantra' the warp are found in Vedic texts. The number of needles found at the Indus Valley sites evidences that the technique of sewing was practised. Background Textiles are believed to date from pre-historic times evidence of weaving being traced to a period before 3000 B. lead. shell and bone. The word textile refers to a filament or yarn that can be made into fabric or cloth. which is dated from the Harappa and Mohenjodaro settlements of 2600 B. vasana and vastra . copper tools. 100122. Harrapan seals used to seal bundles as merchandise. A Karim. the ancient name for the Indus region. as seen in the terracotta and stone statuary of figurines such as the Mother Goddess. bonded. vol.C. describing two parts of the worn garment: the vasu (lower garment) and the adhivasa or upper garments. 1925. resulting in the material or textile. The early Indus Valley civilization. Dhaka. do not provide visible evidence of the making of textiles. A whole range of mystic thought expressed in folklore and folk verse compares the act of weaving. JC Sinha.Bibliography James Taylor. pearls. such as vasas. "The Muslin Industry of Dacca" in the Modern Review. A garment called atkal described as woven and well fitted is mentioned. lists of goods and official inscriptions. London. The Rig-Veda (1500 B. Certainly from the time of the Rig-Veda weaving and a variety of terms describing different materials are used. as creation.

the fixing of taana and baana (arranging yarns in order) when breezes are light at different hours of the day. or else how could a loom craft come down over a period of two thousand years? The delicate weaves of the diaphanous material and later the figured muslins or jamdanis can only be explained by the unique inner quality of the Dhaka weavers and their descendants. fold up the looms and attend the village `melas' (trade fair). it is believed. reside the offspring of these blessed and gifted weavers. the Middle East and India. In India the manufacture of textile. Under paragraph No. In fact.C. The breezes that waft from the river over the village on its banks (especially the morning air before the sun rises high) give the weaver his `gift of the loom'. a catalogue made out in preparation for the Great Exhibition in London at that time. 1877. Indian cotton textiles continued to be the cynosure among royalty all over Europe. The weaving techniques of ancient Bengal. has such fabric been woven by the hand of man. describes the patronage of the court of Emperor Shahjahan. The renowned muslins of ancient Bengal.H. `The cotton of which fine Dacca muslin are made is grown in the district and differs from the common cotton plant of Bengal in some particulars.It is at this point in history that cotton wool and cotton fibres from Vanga or East Bengal are recorded as important trade items and revenue earners. 335 it says. keeping their looms in tune with the earth on which it stands. Italian traveller Manrique. the season to stop weaving. the most important being that the staple of the cotton is . where enough was produced for export. and the specialty of Dhaka muslin is undoubtedly linked to the genre of the Dhaka weaver's skill and talent. The weaver himself is a unique being too. It can be said that the zenith of muslin production was achieved with the patronage of the great Moghuls. Demra and Narayanganj. In the India Office Library in London is a manuscript entitled Textile Fabrics by H. It is said that the grey waters of the Meghna turn to a light yellow colour in the tributary causing the air above it to hold a different dampness. gave accounts of the fine cotton cultivation and its products. The other factor of vital importance to the uniqueness of Dhaka muslin is the existence of the cotton fibre itself. and described the garb of the Indians in the court as 'flowered robes of fine muslin'. where the river Sitalakhya branches off from the mighty Meghna. Even today in the villages of Naopara.D. have come down to present times in a more or less continuous form. Cole. in his writings of 1628. stormy weather. We are informed further that muslin merchants in 1887 protested the monopoly of the East India Company's hold on weavers throughout East Bengal (48. or elsewhere in the world. He held on ritualistically to the rising at dawn to start weaving. living along the same riverbanks and using the same type of bamboo looms to weave their magic. especially cotton had become a large industry. which had been developed into a fine art. The Greek Chronicler Mesgasthenes visited the court of Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrocottus) in 325 B. and the dry winters.000 persons) which was done by issuing permits that prevented the weavers from taking on work for private traders. Nowhere else in the subcontinent. He kept his elementary links with nature. Even to this day the weavers preserve habits and activities that conform to the rainy season. the mode of weaving during the monsoon rains. Marco Polo who traveled through many parts of Asia in 1290 A. to provide in an almost unbroken line the heritage we own today. and later Emperor Aurangzeb. the applying of starch in the dry afternoon air and maintained seasonal time. it is amazing that the shape and design of the bamboo loom placed over a clay floor pit is unchanged over the past centuries. Muslin and Jamdani The Indo-Gangetic civilization which grew and developed along the banks of the mighty Ganga-JamunaBrahmaputra. who received annual tributes of these fine cloths from their Governors in Bengal and which were so special that it cost ten times the price of any other clothes made for Europeans or others in the Empire. fused into the indigenous culture of the Bengal delta. It is the unique quality of the air at the particular point of conjunction.

"The famous malmal khas or 'King's muslin' could be made in lengths of 10 yards and one yard in width. and produce the effect of embroidery. The Muslim ruling classes with their Turko-Persian Central Asian combine of sense and style placed a new demand on the weavers. Regarding the climate Mitra quotes that `The climate of Dacca was well suited to the manufacture of fine muslins. act as a fine comb in removing the loose and coarse fibres of the cotton and all extraneous earth or vegetable matter' The combination of a special raw material in the cotton (kapas) produced in the Dhaka region. so as to become legendary. Dhaka muslins exceeded in delicacy and were far superior in texture. The jamdani may be called a product of the shuttle in which the designs are inserted by hand during the process of weaving. so fine that it could scarcely be felt when held in the hands. and later `the soil of Sonargaon. D. James Taylor noted in his book that `A skein which a native weaver measured in my presence in 1846 and which afterwards carefully weighed proved to be in the proportion of upwards of 250 miles to the pound'. Its superiority has been attributed to the action of the sea. Kapasia. but mulmul was always a popular material for wearing comfort and beauty. the teeth of which being small. The heat and climate of Dacca is lower by some degrees than that of the western district of the province'. that the Iranian king Shah Safy (1628-1641) was presented by his ambassador to India a muslin turban 30 yards long. talent and patronage. This signifies the exquisiteness of the cotton yarn used to weave muslin. striped and checked muslins were produced since long on the Dhaka looms in different qualities for the local populace and figured muslins or Jamdani were woven under order for the richer classes. and Junglebarry possessed all the components necessary for the best cotton ground'. By the 1800's English officials of the East India Company had made detailed records of the loom manufacturing industry. The Dhaka muslins (as a genre of woven loom cloth) were highly prized by this time and it is recorded by Tavernier. Persian influence takes dominance over design at this point in history and the Islamic civilization's unique grasp of geometric and abstract motif carries the craft of weaving to new heights. are grown in certain localities along the banks of the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. It must be understood that mulmul. `Many Europeans have noted the slender and somewhat delicate physical frame of the natives of Dacca. The cotton in the state of kapas. are passed through the warp. The wool adhering to those seeds is carded with the jaw of the boali fish. the water of which. which springs from religious inspiration. acknowledging the masterpieces of muslin production. Hence the word 'Mulmul Khas' (special mulmul) and 'SarcareAle' (the great ruler) were coined when mulmul was woven on order for royalty. Watson said. The perfection of embellished muslins called jamdani took place through that extraordinary coming together of three vital forces: material. The finest qualities called the photi. Although fine cottons were also produced at Mosalipotam in South India at this point in time. How rightly has Dr. and would take a weaver almost five months to complete. the moisture in the air allowing the very fine thread to be woven. the plain white. along with the aesthetic senses of the Muslim patrons at Bengal's capital and the Delhi court. fulfilling the requirements of their patrons. while that of Birbhum to the manufacture of coarse calico. is cleansed and prepared by the women who spin the yarn. curved and closely set. causes a deposit of silt and sand and this improves and fertilizes the soil. which overflow their banks during three months of the year. More beautiful still are the figured muslinsthe jamdanis. Mitra also notes.B. As in tapestry weaving. firmly established the name and value of Dhaka muslins by the 16th century. the remarkably fine sense of touch and the nice perception of weight which characterizes their fingers'. the weaver producing the exquisite designs by the skilful use of the bobbins in the course of the intricate weaving. with the seeds and wool unseparated. I quote from. that is.longer. historian-traveller from Italy. containing from 1000 to 1800 threads in the warp. For an accurate description of Jamdanis as observed by the British officials. He also adds that `the reason why the best weavers had settled in Dacca was that the finest kind of cotton was cultivated in the neighborhood of Dacca'. from their complicated designs they have always constituted the most expensive productions of the Dacca looms"." These could only be made during the rainy season. led to an outburst of art expression. finer and softer. small bobbins or shuttles filled with coloured. The unique art of jamdani motif . The weavers responded with imagination and dexterity. the innate skill of the Dhaka weaver. gold or silver threads. mixing with the rivers. No wonder the best jamdanis of old are today the prized heirlooms of many a Bengali family. 'Hand Woven Textiles of India. "With all our machinery and wondrous appliances we have hitherto been unable to produce a fabric which for fineness and utility can equal the woven air of Dacca. Without doubt it became clear that the ethos. which have been cultivated from time immemorial in the districts. the unique atmospheric temperature on the banks of the Meghna.

Birdwood's record: "In 1641 Manchester cottons were still made of wool.9 Writing in 1839 James Taylor in his book Topography and Statistics of Dacca noted that the produce of the Dacca looms chiefly consisted of `flowered muslins (jamdanees) and Khasidas (Kasida needle work on muslin) but the quantity was small compared to what it was in former years'. as to excite popular feeling against them. As we seek to find the cause of the decline of muslin in the 18th century and disappearance by the 19th century we find ample indicators pointing to the loss of this rich cultural heritage. but the total would not be more than 68. Another interesting record at the India Office Library in London is the manuscript of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition: Indian Catalogue 1886. Another important factor was the export of raw cotton to England. Hamburg and Lisbon was badly affected by the wars England was waging against France. 264. Designs from Turkish leather saddles. Ceylon. established a new economy and bound India to the heels of the British economy' (N. Under the heading Bengal Div XIII. particularly to Versailles.B Mitra states in 'The Cotton Weavers of Bengal' that `In 1800 the inhabitants on Dacca were 20. `British policy British skill and British enterprise brought about a commercial revolution. In the Dhaka arang in 1776 there were 1. No 239 Shahburga chawal-dana piece lent by Nawab Ahsanullah of Dacca ' This account indicated that the patronage of loom fabrics by the Nawab family . Manila and China. lily. America.300 weavers. resulting in a severe scarcity of cotton raw material in Bengal. the lotus is evidently absent. but they were suffering under the oppressive `advance loan' conditions of the Company's officials. Results of this policy became further obvious by 1793 and I quote. The Dhaka muslin. The Dhaka weavers who were employed full time in this occupation. The debilitating actions by the colonizing power had commenced a long while ago as learnt from G. and gradually India chintzes. which had been introduced into England between 1666-1670. In fact by the time of the first Great Exhibition of 1851. the price of cotton rose sharply leaving the weavers with no margin of profit on their production. were so generally worn in England. But in vain did Manchester attempt to compete on fair free trade principles with the printed calicoes of India. Sinha.was thus born and gives proof to the phrase 'divinely inspired expression' as creative weavers used their tools to express their thoughts. woolen carpet patterns and the enlarged blown-up paisley (kalka) lifted from Kashmir shawls and Persian woven brocades.00. became unemployed due to the fall in exports of the finer qualities of mulmul or muslin to Europe. star. The Company's trade to Europe. and weavers had begun moving out of their profession and tried to make a living out of their agricultural land. After the French Revolution the demand of muslin cloths at the French court ceased.K. Sonargaon which in 1833 had a population of 5." The British policy to protect its own textile manufacture led to a general stoppage of import of the fine cottons including muslins from Dhaka. We also see the angular and geometric outlines taken from glazed tiles. according to the Company registers. bring vitality to the jamdani woven textile design. while the rose. Indeed the population of Dhaka declined as a results of unemployment and D.038 in 1839'. had by 1787 begun to suffer the negative effects of the mechanized spinning and weaving methods of British manufacture.600 weavers. to the detriment of the woolen and flaxen manufactures of the country. and the Government yielding to the clamor passed the law in 1721 banning wearing of all printed calicoes whatever. it is recorded as follow: `From Dacca. Vol-III) Many factors caused the loss of one of the world's greatest living treasures. Gulf of Persia and Arabia. loom worked jamdani pieces both white and coloured. loom embroidered fabrics. as by then the export trade to England had been completely overshadowed by machine made cheap cotton produced in Manchester. sprig and arabesque foliage take over. 239.M. Economic History of Bengal. tents (shamiana and kanats) and Muslim architectural lines. and the disappearance of Mughal patronage at the court. Dhaka muslins were produced only on orders for the gentry and a small quantity for local markets. silk.000 was the centre for manufacturing flowered muslins (jamdanees) done mainly by Muslim weavers in the town and surrounding villages and numbered about 1. The coercive policies of the British through their `gamasters' and `amlas' had begun to take its toll. A distinct moving away from typical Hindu and indigenous motifs took place.C. cotton and woolen thread: sub section Nos.000. At this time also there is a noteworthy breakthrough in innovative design. etc.

It is interesting to note that some motifs of Moghul textiles are echoed in the fabrics seen in Ajanta fresco paintings of the 5th Century A. beldar or scroll and vegetal creeper designs. Men's robes. the cultivation of cotton had been completely substituted by indigo and jute plantations which the British rulers found a much more lucrative trade item. Descriptions of the "gold cloth" of Babylon. being commissioned by the upper classes. so that we find patterns of the swan motif (hangshs/hamsa) and the paisley shape called kalka of Bengal and keri of North India. The post war migration of weavers from Uttara Pradesh (U. Bhopal. Silk textiles were available in the last few hundred years from China and other parts of the Indian subcontinent and were used by the aristocracy and landed classes for ceremonies. Central Asia and further on to Italy and France. The use of silk for garments has become more popular in the recent fifty years or so. Ahmedabad. coronations and weddings. named dhup-chaon. enhancing the weaver's repertoire. of Persian design in all its richness and grandeur. Woven silk is mentioned in the Yujur Veda of approximately 1500 B. Banaras Kinkhawabs were further evolved with the mixture of two shades of silk threads giving the effect of light and shade. the gifted Dhaka weavers can still produce the muslin of old ilk Weaving The Dhaka Heritage The heritage of woven handloom silk in Bengal does not compare to the fine cotton muslins in terms of historic or chronological measurement. The yajur veda records the use of rupari and soneri threads to ornament the fabric and we learn from these ancient manuscripts that special women weavers called "pesaskaris" wove such material. Murshidabad and Madras set up weaving centres. Auarangabad. Further back in history there are references that trading merchants carried silks and cotton fabrics through the region of Middle. European writers later on called these "Kincob" and indeed the gloss and glimmer of the silk fabric created a dream like vision for the eyes. The examples of the exquisite loom are hunting scenes of extraordinary finesse depicted in a design named shikargarh. It would be useful to recount the ancient lineage of weaving silk cloth. Over the centuries Banaras silks became renowned and the demand led to more centres being opened in other parts of the subcontinent for trade and marketing. Descriptions of the clothes worn by aristocracy and priests in the Mahabharat and Ramayana are replete with examples of "rich silks". or maz-char. Thus they named Banaras brocades as "dream fabrics" or Kinkwab. but the material referred to is jamdani and not the old fine muslin. Traditional indigenous Indian forms were also imbibed on to Benaras silks. by then. The fabled muslin disappeared because the unique raw cotton was no longer available. For ladies of the court were delicate motifs likebutidar or flowered patterns. The fame of Banaras silks was duly . India) to the new state of East Pakistan in 1946-47 transfers the growth of a rich heritage to the soil of East Bengal. The silk brocades of Banaras came under this influence.C. Mosul and the Gangetic Valley being carried as gifts to King Herod of Biblical times and the Emperors of Europe is well substantiated in the exotic classical paintings of that luxurious era. cloaks and shawls had designs named "silver ripples". Moghul patronage in the crafts and arts of the subcontinent had made a tremendous impact on the creative process. the moon and star motifchandtara and linear patterns called peacock's neck or murgh-gala. black motif on off-white silk called "nightingales eyes" or 'bulbul chasm'. This fact can give culture activists a point to ponder. embellished with gold.continued till very recent times. The Persian language in itself is steeped in descriptive and colourful words or motifs that charm the mind and heart of the viewer. Delhi. This cloth was greatly popular among aristocratic ladies who flaunted the changing colours of their dress as they moved about in the daylight. and silk threads. hazarbuti thousand flowers and nargis the narcissus flower. The Moghuls were masters in giving nomenclatures to the artistic products of the local artisans. We may therefore deduce that there was no high quality `Dacca muslin' produced after the 1890's since. Luchnow. Alexandria. Surat.D. that if cotton plantations are revived.P.

The item was supplied as part of the exotic textiles from Uttar Pradesh. border designs. forms of creeper design. From these original inhabitants of Benaras (whose second and third generation families are residents in Mirpur). thickly embroidered motifs in silk thread embossing. tiapakhee (parrot). Among the first few families who packed up their looms in 1946 and came with high hopes to Dhaka to start a new life was Mohammad Sobhan. diagonal floral styles and satin-but. separated by narrow red lines with gold spots placed at intervals". 150/. The soft breezes blowing out from the rivers were conducive to keeping the looms and the waft and weft of threads pliable. The process of preparing the threads for making saris is long and laborious. The paper drawing of the designs would be the guide for the weaver.moyur-pakhee (peacock). Another exhibit was the "diagonal pattern called tercha bearing stalks and foliage of the scroll type. and Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani. Banarasi brocades were woven with the help of jacquard system. is herself a skilled weaver. Islampur of the old town and by the 1960s the posh newly built New near Nilkhet. The romance of the soft pure silks of Banaras had reached Bengal with the advent of Moghul rule. Some other migrants were the father of Sanaullah Warsi (78 years) who still works at the loom in Mirpur. The main market were in Sadarghat Market. A brief description is given below : . which attempted a direct challenge to sunlight the accomplishment of millions of fairies". Devdas. However. The master craftsman of Mirpur informed me that silk brocades carried names such as beldar. The result of these factors brought about the migration of large populations from one region of India to another. Liaqat Ali (70 years) and Qayyum (65 years) whose parents reached Dhaka in 1946. By the 1920's the Banarasi sari became an essential part of the Indian bridal trousseau. a leader among the weaver community and a second generation Banarasi weaver. I was able to obtain valuable information on the weaving processes as well as the names of original designs. Descriptions detail "a sari in yellow silk gauze with floral scrolls. were priced at Rs. His wife Razia Sultana Parveen also from a weaver's family. the movement for Independence from the British and finally the desire for a separate homeland for Muslims. father of Mohammad Rafiq whom I met in Mirpur Palli in 2004. As is common with most heritage crafts and arts produced in the subcontinent. the Banarasi loom is composed of wooden. India. A brief description of the process undertaken by the Mirpur weaver was explained by Mohammad Rafiq. 400/-. in the old town. The culture of the Indo-Gangetic plains has been nurtured by the mighty rivers Ganga and Jamuna.documented as some of the unique exhibits. belbuti. the only change has been the addition of the jacquard introduced after 1947. By the Sarees outlets Market 1930s Dhaka set up its own Banaras Silk Industry Centre in Becharam Dewry. They belonged to Cholapur village of Benaras.and a bridal saree fetched a princely price of Rs. Classical motifs from the Persian storehouse of design were known as jam-e-bahar (trellis patterns) and jam-e-var(Persian paisley) gul-dasta (bouquet or flower vase motif) also referred to as ambros. a matter of extraordinary skill of eye and hand. There has been no change in the loom since over a thousand years. depending on the skill of the weaver in line-by-line placement of patterns on the taanaand baana. none of their children have taken up the profession. One significant stimulus was in the 1940's resulting from political changes. An art connoisseur of the period Theopbile Gautier wrote about the glory of Banaras brocades as "cloth. the border and end piece (anchal) being in thick silver checkered damask. An overall linear floral ornamentation was called jungala (foliage pattern). All are attending school and college. As time passed Bengali words came into use such as lata-pata (trellis) prianka (floral) tara-buti (star bud) kalka (paisley). bamboo and small metal parts arranged in the earthen pit floor of the Karkhana (factory). In recent years the influence of film and television media led to naming sari designs after Titanic. The weavers of Mirpur Palli were commissioned to produce the extravaganza of silk saris worn by Indian actress Aishwarya Rai and her dance troupe in the film Devdas. each composite flower of floret being outlined in gold thread".

The dyed spools are put onto turai or beams. Makku or dherki (five inch long flat shuttle piece of buffalo horn used to push threads left or right as needed. the loom setter uses the pareta a bamboo rolling pin also called natawa. The dyeing process is fascinating. India. The elders speak with nostalgia about their roots. as 70 yards can be dyed at one time in three colours. The required lengths of threads for the taana (warp) of one or two saries are straightened out and joined if necessary to achieve the required length. Once the threads are arranged for the taana. the border (paar) and end piece (anchol) will be beige and motifs will be of cream shades. Pakistan or Thailand. lachhis are then sent for dyeing.500 per kg imported from China. 3. but they are aware of their contribution to the cultural wealth of Bangladesh. 7. The thread spools already prepared by the charka workers are kept on the earthen floor near the weaver. before laying them out to dry. the bundle threads have to be washed in at least four pots of clean water mixed with a thread softener called khararee (digamen). Today the far-flung cousins from the lineage of Banaras weavers are carrying on the legacy in their chosen homeland. This is done by using one colour dye up to a given measurement of the threads. for up to five saris with blouse pieces. 5.1. Tana (steel plate) Rooler (wood roller) Charka (hand spin or cycle wheel) Khalli (iron rods rotated to tighten threads) Charr or birni (thin wire used to tighten threads). 2. 1. The exchange of information is all verbal and there is no written code or guideline. Katha or shirki (wood or bamboo flat instrument used to form floral patterns). 4. The weaver explains the design to the setter referring to patterns such as keridar (paisley) or phoolkoli orkangeevaran. . First high quality silk threads are purchased at an approximate rate of Tk. The skills belong to the craftsman. which look like large rolling pins called belun. for example the main ground colour (jomeen) will be black. The larger spools. do this by immersing the threads in boiling pots of soap water for at least one hour. The silk threads are fine like hair and they are joined with a powder called madesun made from fine soft ashes (chhai). For the baana or weft. After boiling for over an hour with at least 4 bars of soap in water for a length of two saris. Dhaka has become a hub of a great heritage of craft of the subcontinent. 6. These imported threads come in the form of bales and are put onto wood rollers. they are fitted at the weaver's end of the loom by speciallsed craftsman. 8. Nowadays these are made of plastic. The taana-setter knows before hand that the sari has three colours. The heritage is alive because public patronage is forthcoming and because the weavers of the exotic art-craft are dedicated to passing on the legacy for posterity. Special dyeing experts. From these smaller lengths are cut and taken to spin spools on wooden charkas (wheels) for the baana (weft). Names of tools used to weave Benaras silk brocades are as follows: Turai / belun (roller-beam) Khuta (side posts) Karga (pit) Lappa (horizontal wooden rods) Jacquard (cards perforated with holes for lifting needed threads) Phhana (bamboo read) Makri (upper/roof suspended rods) Gulla or baw of natawa bamboo/wood spool. the renowned Banarasi brocaded silks. who are not the weavers.

Khumi. who follow Buddhism.beam. 2. 9. natural dyes. Tonchangya. Roeng. Anaj . In fact some textiles are considered as sacred. Some of the most famous designs are: 1. belonging to the Chakma. Teen beya . Rope . Shaugtia bach. The Chakmas. The skill is considered a qualification of a good wife and mother and a spiritual value is given to the art of weaving. Begum bichi . Tusha. At about eight years of age a girl is encouraged to start learning a range of designs. Several. 5. which her mother shows her from an heir-loom woven catalogue.pineapple. produce handloom cloth. Tarchi Cam . The Pala and Sena Dynasty overcame Buddhism and its followers sought safety in the hilly regions of Rangamati.Waist belt (of buffalo hide). Burmese and Assamese peoples with the Aboriginal keep threads uniform. nearly all made from bamboo and the chhaw betal nut tree. Tagalog . The Chakma Loom: The most well known loom is called Baen. Charka . Bourgogaw . and the raw materials were made of handspun cotton thread. Weaving in Buddhist tradition holds spiritual and ritualistic overtones. The most recent entry of outsiders started in the 8th century A. 3.heel section. Tuptupi . Ritual prayers are offered at the time of weaving. (up to the 12th century) when Buddhist influence was at its height and the great monasteries at Paharpur and Mainamati testify to that influence.king of design. and any monk whose clothes have worn out can cut off a piece to fulfill the needs of his apparel.spinning wheel. They form some interesting Tribal population of the country. Arakanese. Khagrachari etc. The Bengali race is a mixture of Mongoloid. imbibing and fusing with the earlier Indus Valley culture. The parts are as follows: Biyong. 8. They receive gifts of their robes from the community. There is a special cloth made of hand spun yarn and woven specially as an act of charity.aat-bo-lizard's foot. forest and agro-based peoples of old Vanga.heel to set threads of taana. The Tribals of the Chittagong Hill Tracts consist of ten main tribes. The weaving of material for charity in olden times was a religious act. Chori phool . 6. Buddhist monks eat from charity (they do not cook their own food) and also they cannot purchase their garments. who hang the material in the open. and the Indo-Gangetic Civilisation had reached fruition. as a gift to the monks. Bandarban. It has twelve main parts. Pangue.C. commerce and industries over the period approximately of 1000 B. Such long pieces of fabric are made by Chakma women and hung out in open spaces or forest areas on a tall bamboo.snake curve.seed of eggplant.three sticks used to hold threads. Tammo bach .small flower. Bangal Chabugi . Padi cabang gach . 10. Names of Designs : Every Chakma girl is taught weaving by her mother and elders. Kanjal .design on clay water pot. Thur Sama .like Bangla alphabet letter. 7. which carries an ancient link with tribal or indigenous communities in larger Asia. Chak and Khyeyng.Tribal Textiles Vanga or East Bengal had grown its townships. . but not all of these tribes had a weaving tradition.tiger's eye. Tripura.beam. Bau Kati .shuttle of bamboo. Bago choke . Siyang . Moru. 4.for belt and Tarchidori.D. such as those woven to commemorate the death of a person and also those woven for marriage ceremonies. Leblebi . Chorki .for spinningjhoom threads. an important tribe. This is called the aalum. There are hundreds of patterns but a good weaver must learn.

14. skirts. Kangara . 15. These form the complicated geometric designs of Chakma loom fabric. and the range has therefore increased. in the next post. 13. Satacrang . Logged Mostafa Zaman Jr. Manjulika Chakma opened the first commercial sales outlet in the 1960's. I believe that there no one in the world who will be surprise to know that a complete garments can be kept in a small match box and that fabric was Dacca Muslin. Manjulika Chakma mentioned that she markets some of her production through stick. Panchatala Khisa who pioneered the craft of weaving tribal textiles for themarket. Sath beya karanga kapya . It is up to us to meet that demand". Recent changes have occurred in the textural quality of Chakma handloom fabrics. Not only do our tribal women feel proud to wear our own dress. very few people know its technical hurdles for that reasons it lost totally. but the raw material is available and its final products muslin lost (yarn count 200-400). "If we move with the times.small wild marigold.combined pattern. but by producing the material for shalwar-kameez. Daush beya . Member Posts: 61 . Chakma tribal textiles have a bright future.cane stool design. with the entry of rayon. Tribal women are presently marketing their products in the local'haat'. waist coats. Now there are at least twenty-five loom factories. but her determination has given recognition to a great heritage and kept it alive. Chaba Kangel . In 1960s and 70s there was no market. Previously red. Manjulika Chakma.snake twist.crab. Renowned weaver Mrs. She says. or as vendors going house-to-house creating a new activity of profit for tribal women. Stick counts refer to the number of small sticks inserted in the threads to form the motif. Traditional jhoom handspun yarn has been replaced by Korean cotton yearn. Majara . 16. Aza thang . machine made threads and gold zari threads. men's fatua. With increased demand. Now dyeing is done with chemical dyes.10 sticks. 18. I came to know some important facts why today our one of the famous heritage lost its presence. 12. while doing my masterarbeit in Germany. She believes that the future of woven material produced by the tribal people is undoubtedly bright. you all know that basic raw material for muslin fabric was pure cotton. engaging two thousand workers in the hill tract region. shawls. 17. caps etc. says she is optimistic regarding the increase of handloom production. the apt daughter of Panchalata Khisha. we are attracting the general buyers. i will let you know the technical hurdles behind the disappearance of the heritage. They go up from sixteen to thirty-eight lines in a single pattern. is also a winner of many national and international awards for her thirty years of dedication to the preservation and development of Chakma tribal textiles. black. Thengbala satarang .ducks feet. dark green and white were the main colours. There is a growing interest in tribal loom cloth.

Mahfuzur Rahman Senior Lecturer Department of Textile Engineering Daffodil International University fatima Jr..Re: Why the Dacca Muslin fabric lost in course of time? « Reply #1 on: October 26. Logged Suha Full Member Posts: 142 Re: Why the Dacca Muslin fabric lost in course of time? « Reply #2 on: October 26. 2011. 09:21:03 AM » Good post Logged Md.. 12:53:56 AM » I think your next post will be more informative and we are eagerly waiting for that.. Member Posts: 74 .. 2011.

I am sorry I lost the track. and i become one of the few fortunate Bangladeshi got all the view of Paris standing upon the tower.they destroyed our own production of cotton (carpus). 2011. 09:30:40 AM » as far my knowledge.-ok. the magnificent mahal was built through giving remuneration to its labors through cutting their fingers. I had opportunity to visit one wonder in the world. 2011. if you know the technical barriers and accordingly take measures. cut the finger of the manufacturer and did all things what can destroy the rich economy of this sub continent. . Logged Fatima Binta Satter Disha Lecturer Textile Engineering AAA Jr.Re: Why the Dacca Muslin fabric lost in course of time? « Reply #3 on: October 26.our Muslin fabric was destroyed by the British. 05:15:50 PM » there is not coincident with the concept of TAJMahala and its consequences after the completion of one of the magnificent wonders in the in the world.that is Eiffel Tower in Paris. Member Posts: 75 Re: Why the Dacca Muslin fabric lost in course of time? « Reply #4 on: October 26. the dhaka muslin is possible to make even today. but believe me or not what was not happen for Dacca Muslin. I am not sure what was the logic behind cutting fingers of so many people.

with its seductive promise of cartoon glimpses into a world permanently out of reach: "Duniya dekho!" In its 21st century avatar. and sparked off a controversy when her publicist asked that the (coloured.Dacca muslin is pure cotton fabric. Monica Ali's Brick Lane is a bioscope story. the obvious affection for her characters. . which is the most important factor for any yarn to weave. the second thing is that after converting fiber into yarn. Despite the effective humour. in the ancient time when Dacca muslin was made that was only weave on pit-looom. the little box of wonders situated not in a larger world. though to reach this insight you have to discard the accumulated hype that almost buries the book itself under a flood of gossip. we have to weave. exploring an unknown (or. the new Rohinton Mistry. the new Zadie Smith. but a smaller. while no other textile fibers in the world has such exceptional property. More gossip. Ali is the New New Thing. in this regard humidity (water vapor in air) can play vital role along with fineness of fibers and most importantly expertise. this is just a bioscope show. to use that loaded word. Ali prefers not to be pigeonholed as 'Asian'. that is cotton gain its strength while absorbing water or moisture. Asian) Guardian critic Maya Jaggi be replaced by somebody with less. Ali leaves us with the sense that. It offers enlightened literary tourism for the First World reader. patient and concentration. less accessible one. high humid region is the only place where cotton fiber can be converted into such fine yarn. because this damp environment where humidity % is higher and high humidity means higher strength to the finest yarn in the world. after all. Ali's publicist apologised for the "misunderstanding". ethnic antecedents. Jaggi responded that this was the first time her background had been a factor in a long career. So it goes.Once there was the bioscope. but with respect and the hope of understanding. exotic) world. the bioscope's trained the other way. which create damp environment in the digger spaced. it is true that to convert cotton fiber into such higher count yarn. devotion. consecrated by her presence in Granta's recent list of leading British novelists. if you know the construction of any pit-loom than you know that a pit-loom is a loom that is set up in a humid square deep space into ground. and the cotton has the most surprising properties which no other textile fibers has. one must need expertise. this property of cotton fiber has given birth of 200-400 cotton yarn. well.

Ali's style is unadorned. the couple discover each other for the first time when they lose their first-born child. Nazneen emerges from behind the veil of unassuming blandness draped over her features. The deus ex machina which draws Nazneen past the lakshmanrekha of her normal life is Karim. Hasina. and writes of these things in a curious patois meant to be either broken English or translated colloquial Bangla. back in Bangladesh. a community leader and activist distinguished unfortunately by a tendency to strike Howard Roarkian attitudes. It's more than she does for Hasina. Ali evokes a grandeur in the everyday that resonates through Brick Lane. which evokes risibility more often than any other emotion in the reader's breast. and a surprising capacity for a muddled tenderness leavens his apparent leanings toward patriarchy. Chanu. in both departments. and initially far less colourful. Hasina works in a sweatshop. who descends every so often from the oracular voice of women's wisdom into the mawkish with a discernible thump: "All my life I look for one thing only for love for giving and getting and it seem such a . touches on their lives with a kind illumination. "an unspoilt girl from the village" when she is uprooted via the instrument of marriage from Bangladesh to the exotic world of Tower Hamlets in London. Two more children. though they cannot excite the same awe in Nazneen's breast. As they negotiate the deeps and shallows of marriage. but her real achievement is in depicting the flawed but deeply touching and infinitely complex relationship between Nazneen and Chanu. in a world peopled by characters who skate close to the edge of stereotype but don't always overbalance. will follow. or the lack of them. discards or is discarded by various male protectors. is forced to prostitute herself. Cursed with beauty (yes. but he has depth. this is where things start to get a trifle predictable). as did the first. She evokes the sights and sounds of Brick Lane dutifully. The circumference of this strange new world is almost as narrow as her life in Mymensingh district. to use the words of her husband. Chanu appears to be unidimensional when you first meet him. Nazneen is. As they muddle through their lives. Bibi and Shahana. evocative tourist guide. almost monotone. She holds out the possibility of redemption for them. In an especially poignant episode. but it does set a gentle if unexciting rhythm. doomed child. "just another obtuse struggling subcontinental male". a weak patriarch and ineffectual dreamer. occasionally plumbing the unexpected depths that even an arranged liaison can provide. There are plenty of those. Running in parallel with the ebb and flow of life in and around Brick Lane are the letters that conjure up the hard-knock life of Nazneen's sister.All of that is so much baggage: Brick Lane will be remembered or forgotten for its own merits. in the manner of an able. the same sense of allowing her to rediscover the world through her baby's eyes.

Mosul. Till 1813. the then Prince of Wales. cost Rs 400 or Rs 40 per yard.R. Imperial Rome imported large quantities of this fabric. The variety known as sarkar-e-ala. in Iraq and through the centuries when India became known as the home of exotic muslins. It's a charming illusion.Reviving the once-famous muslin industry K. among aristocratic families of the Indian subcontinent. The word ‘muslin’ was derived from the name of the city of its origin. refers to one type of Indian muslin known as jhuna. alizolah and samanderlaher. but it makes a poor substitute for reality. In 1875. Their weave was so fine that the Egyptian Pharaohs used them for wrapping mummies. known as shama or evening dew. came to Bengal." Despite the effective humour. two Indian cities. worn by Roman women of high rank to show off the contours of their bodies. naubati. was used for the turbans of Mughal emperors. IN the history of textiles. yahudi. The history of Dhaka muslin is replete with exotic varieties. dresses of Dhaka muslin are considered the ultimate in luxury. Swamy Clothes made of Dhaka muslin are considered the ultimate in luxury. there is no name more famous than that of Dhaka muslin. despite the obvious affection for the people whose diverse lives she's trying to illumine.thing full of danger can eat you alive and now I stop the looking it come right up to me and show all it tiny little teeth. after all. the famous Roman historian. explored the lives of strangers with great intimacy. Ali leaves us with the sense that Brick Lane is. It provides the illusion of having travelled long distances and seen many distant marvels. one thaan (one yard wide. became famous for the weaving of this cloth. known as qutn-e-rumi. ten yards long) of muslin. Alarmed . with embroideries done in silver or with silk thread and this muslin was known as kasidah. when Edward VII. One yard of this fabric weighed barely 10 grams! Even today. just a bioscope show. namely Masulipatnam in South India and Dhaka in Bengal. Dhaka muslin continued to sell in London with 75 per cent profit and was cheaper than the local British make. In the first decade of the 20th century. Sir Abdul Gani of Dhaka ordered 30 yards of the most superior muslin as a gift to the prince. Pliny.N.

this would mean a maximum daily wage of Rs 25 per day. But after 30 years. Dr Taylor states. English mill-made thread was introduced in Dhaka. the revival of the muslin industry has to depend upon the gradual improvement of the quality of the popular and cheaper muslin-based Dhakai." The count for the best variety of Dhaka muslin was 1800 threads per inch. But more than the duty. a British textile expert. Tangail and Jamadani sarees. Another unsavoury fact associated with the killing of this Indian industry was that the thumbs and index fingers of many yarn makers were chopped off by the British in order to prevent them from twisting the finer yarns required for the muslins. pressing and polishing the muslin was one of the specialised tasks of Dhaka’s washermen community. not much attention was paid to the muslin industry. But. which were revived by the Government of India after Independence. Unlike the case of many famous handicrafts of the subcontinent. as by 1817. In this competition. West Bengal and other states in India have tried to revive muslin-weaving skills. varying from 18 to 30 years. while the lesser varieties had about 1400 threads per inch. beauty and delicacy of texture. Whether the fabulous muslin industry can be revived now. Washing. because they were then forced to work only for the Government which paid them ill and kept them in sort of captivity. The superfine quality could be woven only in early morning or afternoon as otherwise the strong sunlight snapped the threads. the finest muslin of Dhaka was reserved for the imperial court. the British imposed 80 per cent duty on the Indian product. at one-fourth the price of the Indian yarn. The most famous of the weavers were registered as though in royal employ and were not allowed to make muslin for others. The best test of the material was that repeated washing made it finer. with British machinery. they got only one to one and a half rupees per month. Recently. Bangladesh. An interesting fact was that the polishing of muslin was done using conch shells and the fabric was not ironed. Kasidah and Jamdani fabrics for saris continued. the Dhaka fabrics are unrivalled in transparency. This yarn was not of uniform quality. Till 1821." During the medieval times. According to Rabindranath Saha. had this to say about the weavers: "It was a misfortune to appear very dexterous. is the question experts are trying to sort out. "Hindu women of the age. Dr Taylor. one of the main problems faced by Dhaka weavers was to go around collecting yarn from the local spinners. But on a commercial scale. during the era when a rupee fetched two and a half maunds of rice. In the 17th century. the manufacture of Dhaka. a traveller. Despite producing the costliest fabric in the world. were the weavers of superfine quality. notwithstanding the great perfection which the mills have attained. a muslin weaver who has won a national award. . which have a great commercial market. By modern monetary value. the weavers of Dhaka suffered because of their skill." The weavers were paid so little that. wrote: "Even in the present day. their sight became impaired. Abbe Rynal. yarn of a uniform texture could be obtained and soon the Indian handmade yarn industry closed. the introduction of the machine-made yarn ruined the muslin trade.

a visionary by name of Sujay Nag. thousands of Hindu weavers from Bangladesh came to West Bengal. In 1947 and later in the 1970s. Today. The expertise of computer scientists is being made use of to create indigenous but varied intricate designs for the fashionable Dhakai saris. so that both India and our neighbour can reap the benefit. And at the Computer-Aided Design Centre at Krishnagar in West Bengal.In the town of Kalna in West Bengal. the modern Indian computer experts are the nation’s pride. in the last decade. serious efforts are being made to revive the muslin textile industry. . there are six IBM workstations with more than 20 traditional weavers working on computer-aided designs. Efforts are made to coordinate with the muslin industry in Bangladesh. has taken the lead to establish a muslin saree centre for weavers in the Kalna town. just as the skill of the muslin weavers was two centuries ago. a senior executive in Tata Iron and Steel Co. Happily.