Nusrat Jahan Nipa, Lecturer, Uttara University
Research guideline professor: Liu Xhian
(Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China)
What is Tangail Saree:
Tangail Saree is a special type of Saree which is made exclusively by the weavers in Tangail. Previously it was known as “Begum Bahar”. In Tangail skilled workers have been making different varieties of handloom fabrics as their family traditions from ancient times. The textile weaving industry in this district is also mentioned in the famous traveler Ibn Battuta and Huen Sam’s travel history. This is the heritage of our thousand-year-old culture.
Origins and Evolution of Tangail Saree:
The handloom industry in Tangail evolved during the last decades of the nineteenth century. The weavers of these Tangail cloths are the successors of the famous Muslin weavers. They were originally from Dhamrai and Chowhatta of Dhaka district and were invited to Tangail by the Jamidars (landlords) of Delduar, Santosh and Gharana. The weavers made settlements in twenty-two adjacent villages of Tangail. At first, they weaved only plain cloth. The Swadeshi movement called by Mahatma Gandhi in 1906 aimed to boycott cotton textiles from Lancashire inspired the use of local cotton cloths and the handloom industry in then East Bengal (present Bangladesh) flourished at that time. During 1923–24 motifs and designs were introduced to the saree. Jacquard looms were introduced during 1931–1932 for making saree.
Weaving Method Tangail Saree:
Tangail Saree is a unique type of weaving done by handloom in the Tangail areas of Bangladesh. Extremely fine yarn is used to prepare Tangail Saree which makes it so soft and comfortable. The weaving style, color, design and length of Tangail sarees are different from all other Sarees. A special type of yarn and threads are used by the weavers. Tangail Sarees are not made by machines. That means every portion of a Tangail Saree is weaved and designed by hand. One of the exceptional features of these Sarees is “Par”(Edge). Jori or silk yarn is used for making its edges. The edges of Tangail Saree are made with special care with silky and shiny threads. It takes around 5 to 7 days to weave a Tangail sari.
Tangail handloom is popular all over the world for its uniqueness. The workers need to have special skills to weave and design Tangail saree. The Basak community of Patrail union of Tangail is a community of weavers who is still continuing the original making process of Tangail Saree. The weavers sell the saree in temporary bazaars that sit only twice a week in Bazitpur and Korotia. Traders come to these bazaars to purchase saree.
The handloom industry in Tangail is a cottage industry and the looms are mostly installed in households. 72% of the total installed looms has a unit size of five looms. Units with six to ten looms are 11% and units with eleven to twenty looms are 6% of the total. Units with twenty-one onward loom occupy 11% of the total and are considered small factories. However, a study done by the Ministry of Industries in 1982, shows that small factories have 20% of handlooms. In the year 1992, there were over 100,000 handlooms and 1,50000 weavers in Tangail located in Sadar, Kalihati, Nagarpur and Basail Upazilas. In the year 2008, there were 37222 handlooms in 10000 small and big handloom factories and there were more than 70000 weavers working under the Basic Centres in several Upazilas of Tangail. A survey conducted in 2013 said there are 60,000 looms in Tangail. Of them, 8,305 are pit looms, 51,141 are Chittranjan looms and 892 are power looms.
A total number of 325,000 weavers, owners and traders are connected with this industry. The factories have been producing Tangail sarees worth Tk 300-Tk 20,000 apiece.
Tangail Saree vs. Jamdani Saree:
There are many people who cannot differentiate between Jamdani and Tangail Saree. Jamdani Saree is made all over the country. But Tangail Saree is made only inside Tangail by a particular weaver community. They have been making Tangail Sarees for ages. Although Jamdani Sarees are also made in Tangail. The Tangail Sarees are completely made by hand work, not by hand and foot-operated machines by which Jamdani Sarees are made.
Tangail Saree vs. Muslin Saree:
Tangail and Muslin are totally different in the weaving technique and the process of weaving itself. Muslin was the finest and thinnest Saree in our country. It was so thin that it could be pulled through a finger ring. On the other hand, Tangail Sarees are made of silk but not so thin. The design and build of Tangail Saree is very different from Muslin. Tangail Sarees are not so transparent and light as Muslin.
Tangail saree can be worn daily at home or at an office or at a party even wedding ceremony, it has all kinds of designs. Tangail Sarees are made with international standards. The main attraction of Tangail Saree is its build quality and design. These are very much lightweight and suitable to wear in summer. The gorgeous and stylish hand-made design of Tangail Saree can easily win a woman’s heart.
Exports of Tangail Saree:
Currently, for the popularity of Tangail Saree, the reputation of saree weavers of Tangail has exceeded the national boundary and has reached worldwide. In fact, the pride of the district of Tangail is now Tangail Saree. Once it was the fame and glory of Jamdani and Muslin. Muslin has been extinct, although Jamdani has survived in the midst of history. However, after Jamdani and Muslin, the Tangail Saree has been able to add a new dimension to the textile sector of Bangladesh. There is a wide variety of fabrics and colors in the design of the Tangail Saree. It has gained popularity across the border in South Asian countries, even in Europe, America, and Japan. Soft silk and cotton weaving have revolutionized Tangail Saree.
The Saree fabric and designs attract the most attention. The main feature is the design of the edge of Saree. Because the design of the edge of Saree can easily claim its uniqueness from other Sarees. Every year a large amount of Tangail Saree is being exported to Europe and India. This saree is very much popular in Calcutta, India. They are just blind about it. Due to the price and very comfortable to wear they liked it very much and use it as their regular wear.
Govt. Plans for Tangail Saree:
Industrial and trade fairs have recently started in Tangail after a gap of 8 years. The government thinks that it will help in increasing the popularity and publicity of our precious Tangail Saree. There are many stalls where only Tangail Sarees are being displayed and sold. National Crafts Council of Bangladesh (NCCB) 2013 applied to UNESCO to certify our Tangail Saree as a world heritage and it succeeded. Since then, this organization is arranging many Tangail and Jamdani Saree exhibitions, and trade fairs and continuously monitored the production and weavers’ condition. The NCCB also visited India, Malaysia,
Thailand, Laos, Jordan, China, and other countries to spread the fame of our Tangail and Jamdani Sarees. Our Sarees won the interest of those countries and they deeply expressed their interests too.