People of district angry about ownership of Tangail sarees

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Tarek Rahman

Tangail Correspondent

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Eati Akter


Residents of the district are furious over Tangail’s demand for Geographical Indication (GI) recognition for traditional sarees. The businessmen and people of the district have demanded GI recognition of ‘Tangail saree’ as a product of Bangladesh by canceling India’s GI soon.

A post on Thursday (February 1) from the verified Facebook page of India’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs said: ‘The Tangail saree, originating from West Bengal, is a traditional handwoven masterpiece. Famous for its fine texture, varied colors and delicate jamdani motifs, it symbolizes the region’s rich cultural heritage. Each saree of Tangail is a sign of skillful craftsmanship, blending tradition and rich beauty.’ Since then there has been a storm of anger and protest across the country including Tangail. Various social media are voicing their protest. Human chain programs are being held at various places including the district headquarters.
The conscious community of Tangail has already held various programs including human chain. The Deputy Commissioner assured the necessary action by holding an emergency meeting in the Ministry.
A human chain program was held under the banner of ‘Sachetan Nagrik Samaj’ on the afternoon of February 3 to demand GI recognition of Tangail saree as a Bangladeshi product. Tangail Press Club with placards saying ‘Tangail’s loom sarees, Tangail’s heritage’, ‘River-Char Khal-Bil Ghazari forest, Tangail’s sari is a treasure of its pride’, ‘My heritage, my pride’, ‘I want GI recognition of Tangail’s loom sari’ etc. A human chain program was held in front. Foundation for Children chairman Mueed Hasan Tarit, Arifuzzaman Sohail, social worker Najiur Rahman Akash, Mirza Rian, Ahsan Khan Milan, Samar Islam and others spoke in that program.

Speakers said, Tangail saree is the famous and traditional saree of Bangladesh. The official page of the Indian Ministry of Culture says this Tangail Saree is a traditional handwoven masterpiece originating from West Bengal. Strongly condemn it. At the same time, I request urgent intervention of the current government to take necessary steps in this regard.

Those involved with Tangail sari on the surface said that the loom saree of Tangail has been the bearer of the historical tradition for about 200 years. Which carries its own tradition and has gained fame in different countries of the world including Bangladesh. Besides, the lifestyle of the people of Tangail is going on in the light of the slogan ‘River-Char Khal-Bil Ghazari Forest, Tangail Saree is the treasure of its pride’. Tangail Sarees are made in different areas including Bajitpur, Krishnapur of Sadar Upazila, Patrail of Delduar, Balla of Kalihati, Rampur. But Pathrail Tangail in Delduar is famous as the capital of sarees.
Balla Area Yarn Traders Association President Mustafa Ashrafi and General Secretary Solaiman Hasan severely criticized India and said that Tangail saree is a tradition of almost two and a half years. This saree is made in Tangail with great care and exquisite craftsmanship. Tangail sarees are owned only by the weavers of Tangail. The West Bengal government of India has shown the audacity to take away the ownership of the traditional Tangail saree by recognizing the Geographical Indication (GI) of the Tangail saree.

Raghunath Basak, president of Saree Traders Association of Patrail, the capital of Tangail Saree, said, Tangail Saree refers to Tangail itself. The temperate climate of Tangail is very suitable for Tangail sarees. Tangail sarees are made in different quality and skill. Sarees are made elsewhere with this skill, but they are not Tangail sarees. Others claiming the Tangail saree as their own and taking the GI tag – it’s sad for us. He protested against it and urged everyone to speak out against it.
Kavi Mahmud Kamal, General Secretary of Tangail General Library said, Tangail is a traditional district of independent Bangladesh. Tangail sarees are world famous since hundreds of years ago. It is not true that this saree is recognized as a GI product of other countries. He demanded to cancel the GI recognition of that country and recognize Tangail saree as a GI product as a product of Bangladesh.
Mofakhkharul Islam, President of Tangail Central Cooperative Artisans Welfare Association Limited and Balla Area Tantubaya Sambay Samity said, since ancient times, Tangail sarees are being made meticulously with the fine skills of weavers in different areas of the district. After partition in 1947 and 1971, some of the weavers of Tangail went to India and settled. There they are working in the original profession of ‘weaving industry’. Therefore Tangail saree can never be from that country. Tangail saree has gained fame in the country and abroad due to long efforts and perseverance. Those who are in that country – they are also making saree for their livelihood – it is true, similarly Tangail saree is the property of Tangail – this is also true. He canceled the GI recognition of that country and demanded recognition of Tangail saree as a GI product as a product of Bangladesh.

In this regard, the Deputy Commissioner of Tangail said. Kaycharul Islam said that the application process has been started to get Tangail saree, pineapple from Madhupur and sandesh from Jamurki recognized as GI products. It is a long 50-year continuation of the achievements here. But Tangail’s woven sarees are twenty-two and a half years old. He feels that Tangail saree deserves GI product recognition. Besides, in 2017, Tangail Saree has been branded by Govt.
He also said that India has mentioned in the documentation that the original men of the Basak family of Pathrail went there and invented a different type of loom saree border by changing the design. Studies have been started to take action in this regard. He held an emergency meeting in the district commissioner’s conference room. Ministry to Ministry talks are looking into how to apply in this regard. Also, if there is an opportunity to appeal, that will also be discussed.

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Tarek Rahman

Tangail Correspondent

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