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Dhakai Muslin to revive its lost glory

Published : 03 Aug 2022 09:10 PM | Updated : 03 Aug 2022 09:15 PM

The traditional Dhakai Muslin Saree of Narayanganj is very famous for its texture and quality. The weavers of Naryanganj with the assistance of the government are trying to revive the lost glory of Dhakai Muslin. The fabric of Dhaka muslin is renowned for its fine and delicate yarn. 

After visiting Dhakai Muslin House, situated at Tarabo in Rupganj of Narayanganj, it was seen that the weavers and Muslin workers were busy making yarn from cotton. This complex technique is required to make the fine hand-woven cloth. 

Once upon a time, Dhakai Muslin was the pride of this region. It went into oblivion for decades. A few years ago, Bangladesh Handloom Board took initiative to revive the lost glory of this traditional Saree.

Some 22 weavers work at Dhakai Muslin House. A group of 96 spinners remain busy making the yarn from the cotton. Employment has been created due to the initiative of the government.

One of the weavers said, “It is not an easy task to make a Muslin Saree. It takes around six months to make the masterpiece.”

Muslin is a brand name of pre-colonial Bengal textile especially of Dhaka origin. Muslin was manufactured in the city of Dhaka and in some surrounding places, by local skill with locally produced cotton which attained world-wide fame as the Dhakai Muslin.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Dhaka in Bengal was famous for producing the finest muslins.

Muslin was one of the legendary cloths of Bengal. These were made with locally grown cotton called “Phuti karpas”. The cotton was grown alongside the river banks of Brahmaputra. In 1298 CE, Marco Polo (a Venetian merchant, explorer and writer) described the cloth in his book The Travels. He said it was made in Mosul, Iraq. The 16th-century English traveller Ralph Fitch lauded the muslin he saw in Sonargaon. 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Mughal Bengal emerged as the foremost muslin exporter in the world, with Mughal Dhaka as capital of the worldwide muslin trade. It became highly popular in 18th-century France and eventually spread across much of the Western world.