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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladeshi fury over India Tangail sari claim

  • Bearers of history and tradition for about 200 years
  • Protests, human chains organized 
Update : 05 Feb 2024, 02:46 PM

The community in Tangail has voiced their anger regarding India's claim over the renowned handloom sari, a cherished symbol of Bangladesh's cultural heritage.

Tangail saris, also known as Taat saris or handloom saris, hold a special place globally. Known for their vibrant colors and intricate designs, these have been a top choice among women. 

After India’s claim, the businessmen and locals of the district demanded the GI recognition of Tangail sari as a product of Bangladesh by canceling the GI of India.  

Several protests and human chains have been organized in the district so far in protest of the matter. The deputy commissioner of Tangail has also assured to take the necessary steps soon in this regard. 

Earlier, the Ministry of Culture of India had asserted that the famous Tangail sari actually originates from West Bengal, India. 

The controversial claim was made via a Facebook post, which was deleted later, on the official page of the ministry.

The post claimed: “The Tangail sari, originating from West Bengal, is a traditional handwoven masterpiece. Renowned for its fine texture, vibrant colors, and intricate Jamdani motifs, it epitomizes the region’s rich cultural heritage. Each Tangail sari is a testament to skilled craftsmanship, seamlessly weaving together tradition and elegance.”

Those involved in Tangail sari business in the district said that the handloom saris have been the bearers of history and tradition for about 200 years. It has gained fame in different countries of the world by carrying its own charm. 

Tangail saris are made in different areas including Bajitpur, Krishnapur, Pathrail of Delduar, Balla of Kalihati, Rampur of Tangail Sadar Upazila. 

However, Pathrail union in Delduar upazila is known as the capital of Tangail saris.

While speaking to this correspondent, Balla area unit Yarn Traders Association President Mostafa Ashrafi and General Secretary Solaiman Hasan strongly criticized India for their claim.

They said these saris are made in Tangail with great craftsmanship and exquisite dexterity. The rights of Tangail saris belong only to the weavers of Tangail. 

Raghunath Basak, president of Pathrail Sari Businessmen Association, said the name Tangail sari itself says Tangail. The climate of Tangail is very suitable for the saris and provides an ideal environment for crafting.

He added that despite similar skills can be found elsewhere, but Tangail sari is only made here. 

“Others claim that Tangail saris are their own and taking the GI tag is sad for us,” he said.

Poet Mahmud Kamal, general secretary of the District Government Public Library in Tangail, said Tangail saris have been world-famous since hundreds of years ago. 

He demanded that Tangail sari be recognized as a GI product of Bangladesh by cancelling the GI recognition of India.

Md Fakhrul, president of Tangail Central Cooperative Artisans Welfare Association Limited, said after partition in 1947 and 1971, some of the weavers of Tangail relocated to India. As they started working there too, Tangail saris can be found there as well.

Indeed, it is true that those living in India make their livelihood by producing those saris. Similarly, it is also true that Tangail saris are the distinctive heritage of Tangail.

On Sunday, Textiles and Jute Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak said that immediate and effective measures will be taken to get the patent (geographical indication) of Tangail saris.

He said that the ministry has urgently held a meeting with all concerned and given instructions in this regard.

GI status

According to the Indian Geographical Indications Registry website, the Tangail sari of Bengal was registered on January 2, 2024, in response to an application by Kolkata-based West Bengal State Handloom Weavers Co-Operative Society Limited.

It says the application was filed on September 8, 2020, and the registration will remain valid until September 7, 2030.

Meanwhile, the Tangail district administration held a meeting on January 30 to discuss how to secure GI status for the Tangail sari, pineapples, and Sandesh (a type of sweetmeat made with milk and sugar).

Deputy Commissioner Kaisarul Islam said they have applied for GI status for the three iconic products of Tangail and hope to get the recognition soon.

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