An initiative to revive Jamdani's past aura with wedding wardrobe
Jamdani sarees were very well known to Bengali women as an heir to the ancient muslin cloth. Jamdani cloth is made by designing on muslin.
Usually means a saree, Jamdani is also used to make designed orna, kurta, turban, rumal (handkerchief), curtain etc too. In the 1700s, there was a tradition of making Sherwanis having Jamdani designs. Besides, Jamdani was also used for regional clothes of Mughal, Nepal.
Country's renowned fashion designer Biplob Saha however has been working for a long time on the possibility of Jamdani's re-emergence in Bangladesh. The different use of Jamdani in the 1700s inspires him to think about it. Thus, he always tries to bring Jamdani in his trendy experimental work. Currently he is working with Jamdani fabrics for bridal wardrobe in the wedding season, which is first step towards the revival of Jamdani.
Saha said he wants to give wedding wardrobe a different look with Jamdani fabrics, which would give the bride and groom a trendy look, much different from the usual look.
History experts said muslin give the people an aristocrat look and there is no denial fact that this wardrobe was only reserved for the high class people in that age. But Shah's ambition is to make Jamdani fabrics available for the people of walk of life.
There are however different opinions on naming the cloth Jamdani. According to one, the word 'Jamdani' comes from the Persian language. In Persian language, jama means clothes and dani means embossment. Therefore, it stands for embossed clothe. That's why; it is perceived that Muslims brought Jamdani in the Indian subcontinent. Muslims are believed to have introduced and expanded Jamdani in the Indian subcontinent. According to another description, in Persian language, the meaning of jam means fine wine and daani meaning cup. So the word Jamdani originated from the muslin worn by Iranian cup-bearing beloved.
Based on the design, Jamdani has many names - Tarcha, Jalpaar, Panna Hazar, Corolla, Dublajal, Sabarga, Balihar, Shapala Flowers, Vines, Mayurpachpar, Bighanali, Kalamilata, Chandrapar, Jhumka, Butidaar, Jhalar, Mayurpakhha, Pewitya, Kalkapar, Kuppata, Butterfly, Jubby, Hansbalka, Shabnam, Jhumka, Jabafal etc. Basically, muslin excelled in Bangladesh's Dhaka mainly. Dhaka's Sonargaon, Dhamrai, Titibari, Bajitpur, Jangalbari etc. were famous for muslin. European, Iranian, Armenian, Mugal and Pathan merchants were involved in the business of muslin and Jamdani. Thus, then Heads of State also played a role in the development of the industry.
The golden age of muslin is considered to be the Mughal period. During this time, the demand of muslin and Jamdani increased all over the world, and the industry flourished as well. In 1787, 50 lac and 30 lakh taka worth of muslin was exported to England according to James Wise and James Taylor respectively. But in 1807, the amount decreased to 8.5 lakh taka. Finally the export completely stopped in 1817. Later, muslin was only found in Europe through individual efforts.
In the middle of the 19th century, according to one estimate of Jamdani and Muslin, 50,000 taka worth of Jamdani with floral works on white texture used to be worn by Nawabs of Delhi, Lakshmou Nepal, Murshidabad etc. There were some reasons behind the extinction of this industry, among them the key reason was the industrial revolution of England. This resulted in the arrival of machines in the textile industry and the production of printing cloth began with a lower price. Besides, the price of the foreign cotton thread was less than the local one. Then Mughal emperors and their royal employees became irresponsible towards this industry, and gradually the muslin and Jamdani industry were lost in time.
Coming to the 21st century, renowned fashion designer Biplob Saha who has been working for a long time on the possibility of Jamdani's revival in Bangladesh said it's a tough task but he assured he would leave no stone unturned to make it possible.