Tuesday, 27 September, 2022

Save handloom tradition

Lungi is one of the oldest and most traditional bottom-wears of Bengali people and was the symbol of Bengali nobility. Many people still now like to wear lungi from a very early age. And with the increase of the Bengali population, the demand for this bottom-wear is also increasing. According to the Bangladeshi Lungi Manufacturers, Exporters and Traders Association, at least four crore people use two pieces of lungi and thus the domestic annual demand for lungi is around eight crore pieces, whose market value is about approximately Tk. 1500 crore. In the time of globalisation, the fame of Bangladeshi lungi has spread out beyond the boundaries because the quality of Bangladeshi lungi is the best in Asia. According to many business persons, there is a huge market for Bangladeshi lungi in different countries. Though the types and designs of lungi in those countries are different from ours, country’s manufacturers are trying hard to capture the international market and thus the amount of exported lungi is increasing day by day.

However, while the market for this product is increasing gradually, the once crowded weavers’ houses remain almost silent nowadays largely because of the dominance of mechanical weaving. There was an age when lungis were knitted by hand and handmade tools with full of passion and taking more time to make the best quality products. The artificers were the artists who used to create new designs lucrative to all. But gone are those days. A few families still following their ancestors’ footsteps find it hard to carry on this traditional profession, largely due to the lack of patronage. Therefore, weavers’ cottages are being closed every year. The scenario is true not only for lungi knitters but also for all weavers or the handicraftsmen of our country.

True enough that if these people change their professions like many others, they will manage to survive, even might lead a better life, but our tradition will die forever. Therefore, all the stakeholders must come forward to patronise these people in order to save our tradition and culture. While the policymakers must take prudent policies, the people must shift their mindset to use handloom products. Let us stand beside the weavers to help them grow and work sustainably, as well as saving our handloom tradition from its doom.