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Bangladeshi muslin needs govt help for revival
Feb '16
Weavers, fabric designers and heritage preservation campaigners in Bangladesh have said that support from the government was essential for reviving the country's legendary muslin fabrics

It would be quite impossible for any individual to revive muslin which has become virtually extinct, said Centre for Policy Dialogue Executive Director Mostafizur Rahman while moderating the discussions at a a workshop on the “Revival of Muslin: Policies and Institutions” in Dhaka.

He said that coordinated efforts by the concerned government departments and private entrepreneurs alone could revive muslin.

Researcher and rights activist Hamida Hossain also backed the idea.
“A major intervention is needed from the public sector to promote muslin and to protect the livelihood of muslin artisans,” she said in her address.

The effort to revive jamdani and muslin, whose manufacture was systematically decimated by the British colonial authorities, is part of a larger process to reclaim the heritage of this textile and to promote brand Bangladesh globally, speakers said.

The workshop is one of several events this month during Muslin Festival 2016, organised by Drik, Aarong and Bangladesh National Museum.

In 2013, Bangladesh's jamdani muslin was included in the list of masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.

Artisans and investors alike need government support, preferably through a public-private partnership arrangement, speakers said. But they conceded that little was known about the international demand for the textile and said research into this was needed.

National Craft Council president Chandra Shekar Shaha said that muslin was a handicraft product and not an industrial product. Without grooming skilled weavers it will be difficult to revive the muslin, he said.

The history of muslin goes back at least a millennium but the fabric's origins are shrouded in mystery. It finds mention in Marco Polo's accounts during his travels. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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