Jamdani, the traditional weaving art of Bangladesh

Rajib Kanti Roy

15th November, 2020 09:41:18 printer

Jamdani, the traditional weaving art of Bangladesh

Jamdani sari adds sheer elegance and femininity to a woman’s appearance in such a way which is truly matchless. If there is anything at all that represents ‘Bengali fashion for women’, it would be Jamdani sari.

Therefore, the wardrobe of a Bengali woman is never complete without this adorable heirloom piece. No matter what the occasion is, this exceptional attire looks traditional yet classy.

Jamdani has been considered as the ultimate symbol of Bengali artisanship. The traditional art of weaving Jamdani was recognised as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ by UNESCO in 2013.

Jamdani also obtained the status of geographical indication (GI) product of Bangladesh.

This finest variety of muslin produced by weavers in Narayanganj exported during the Mughal era.

But neither the promotion of Jamdani at home nor its export has gained the momentum.

Several villages of the eastern side of Shitalakkhya River including Noapara, Rupshi, Moikuli, Khadun, Pobonkul, Murgakul, and Borab in Rupganj under Narayanganj district, are known as a hub of Jamdani weaving and supply.

Caption: Kakoly Russel Talukder owns Kakoly’s Attire

A weekly wholesale market of Jamdani sari sits beside Demra Staff Quarter on the bank of Shitalakkhya River in the early morning every Friday.

Weavers and wholesalers bring their products to this haat and traders purchase these Jamdanis to sell across the country.

But apart from this market, there is hardly any sari shop in any market of the country which sells only Jamdani sari.

Not many fashion designers and fashion houses keep regular contact with the weavers. They mainly depend on mahajans or wholesalers to buy their products.

However, recently online sales of Jamdani have soared, creating a new window of opportunities for the traders.

Kakoly Russel Talukder owns Kakoly’s Attire, an online fashion platform solely dedicated to selling Jamdani. She said, “Jamdani weavers have got new life in recent years as entrepreneurs who sell Jamdani online have been placing orders to them. It helped them survive amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“And when it comes to the customers who buy Jamdani online, I must say they are more conscious. Apart from exhibiting our products online, we send them photos to provide them with a clear idea about the quality of our products,” she added.

Unfortunately, Jamdani sari is not promoted in the global market properly. There are over 300 millions of Bangla speaking people in the world. We couldn’t reach our cultural treasure to them.

Besides, many foreign sari lovers are amazed by the gorgeous and comfortable texture of Jamdanis. But they find it difficult to purchase this stunning sari as it is not available in the global market.

Razib Ahmed, Former and Founder President of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), said, “The government will prepare a complete database which will add every detail of Jamdani weavers, factory owners and traders so that the customers can know about this precious product. It can provide loans to the new generation Jamdani entrepreneurs as well.”

“A Jamdani day can be observed. Exhibitions of Jamdani sari can be arranged abroad to attract international buyers. Actually, we need to understand Jamdani’s economic potential,” he added.