Dhaka, Saturday, 12 June 2021

Bangladesh weaving industry

Heritage of Belkuchi's handloom

Heritage of Belkuchi's handloom

Khandaker Mohammad Ali, Sirajganj: Handloom, high-quality art, is a part of our tradition. But we are now about to lose it. The handloom of Sirajganj’s Belkuchi Upazila is well-known in the country’s weaving industry. However, Enayetpur, Shahjadpur and Ullapara upazilas of the district are also famous areas for handloom products.

Even two decades ago, there was no such cultivation on the bank of Jamuna River. Half of the year, the areas remained submerged due to the terrible aggression of the Jamuna. Since then handloom has become a dominant source of income in this region.

Belkuchi is the second smallest upazila of the district with an area of 164.31 sq km. Most of the people in this area are directly or indirectly involved in the weaving industry. Besides handlooms, there are the significant number of power looms (motorized). Now the loom owners are converting the handloom into power looms. As a result, both production and profit are increasing. High-quality lungi and saree are being produced here. The presence of looms can be noticed all over the upazila.

Besides the local handloom weavers, people from different parts of the country including Rangpur, Kurigram, Panchagarh, Gaibandha, Dinajpur are also involved in this industry.

The popularity of lungi and saree of Belkuchi has been spread all over the country through Sohagpur Hat. Traders from different parts of the country come to the market and buy lungi, saree and other clothes at the wholesale prices.

Weaving saree is the first choice of women in different festivals. Moreover, saree for various festivals are manufactured here. Belkuchi’s Baishakhi sarees for Pahela Baishakh celebration are unique in design.

Moreover, Belkuchi lungi is appreciated all over the world and earned recognition in the export market. Popular lungi factories including Amanat Shah Lungi, Fazar Ali Lungi, Baba Lungi, Close Up Lungi are located here.

Abdul Mannan Joardar, president of Belkuchi Upazila Tanti League (the ruling Awami League's 'tantis' (weavers) front), said that the owners of Belkuchi looms have not sacked their workers even they have passed difficult time due to COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of weavers continue to earn with their efforts. We could have taken the weaving industry further with the patronage of the government.

He also said that many looms have been shut down here as owners have failed to repay their loans from banks. If the government provides low interest-based loans, it will help to enrich the industry further.

Regarding the industry, Md Saiful Islam, the owner of Dawood Textiles, said that the weaving industry has fallen into poor condition for ongoing corona crisis. The cost of production is going up for increasing the price of yarn. On the other hand, the sale is down in the market. Now I can't even pay the carrying cost of the clothes. The government needs to take a proper plan for the sustainability of this industry.

The produced clothes of Sirajganj meet up about 60 per cent of the country’s demand. Experts suggest that if the weaving industry of Belkuchi gets proper support, it will continue for thousands of years.