Benarasi Palli gives in to Indian productsArchita Baroi
The shops at Mirpur Benarasi Palli are selling mostly Indian saris while the traditional Benarasi weavers are passing idle time as the customers are opting for the cheaper Indian saris of various designs.
Eighty per cent of the products the shops in the sari hub were seen selling are Indian instead of those made by the Benarasi Palli weavers.
Mohammed Maksud, a weaver of Sabnam Silk House Workshop, said shops of the Benarasi Palli did not collect saris from the local weavers after 10 Ramadan.
‘Almost all shop owners here have collected saris from other areas of the country and from India,’ Maksud said.
‘Around one lakh weavers of Mirpur Benarasi Palli do not have their own shop as they are too poor to set up their own shop, so they are fully dependent on the shop owners of the Palli,’ Maksud added.
He said Indian saris were occupying Mirpur Palli’s market for the last four years but this year the market predominantly belonged to the Indian products.
‘Indian saris are smuggled into the country evading tax that is why they are selling cheap and our hand-loom Benarasi saris are failing to compete with those power-loom Indian products of various colours and designs.’
‘Last year we could sell some of our products during the Eid season, but this year we are just sitting idly,’ he said.
Mohammed Arman, younger brother of Maksud, said they had supplied wholesale saris to the Palli’s prominent shops such as Nilachal, Mohammadia, Benarasi Sari Kuthi at other times of the year.
‘It is very sad for the Palli’s workshop weavers that the shops are not collecting Eid saris from them. Now our workshop’s weaving machine are sitting idle as there is no order,’ Arman said.
This year Benarasi Palli shops are selling saris of different flashy names such as Fulkali Katan, Dulhan Katan, Mirpuri Reshmi Katan, Millennium Katan, Benarasi Cosmos, Organdy Katan, Tissue Katan, Brocket Katan, Chunri Katan and others.
Sagun Shari’s salesman Alauddin said they had sold different Indian brands such as lehenga sari at Tk 10,000-25,000, shade net sari at Tk 5,000- 20,000, jute katan at Tk 5000- 14,000, Indian georgette Benarasi at Tk 35,00- 10,000.
Alauddin said besides Indian saris, local zamdani saris are on high demand this year Eid so they collected new designs zamdani saris from Demra.
The prices range from Tk 2,500 to Tk 15,000. Other local collections in their shop are embroidered Dupian sari, Mirpuri Opera Katan, Mirpuri Kanjibharam.
Shopkeepers of the Palli said besides the Indian products, they had also collected saris from Tangail, Pabna, Ishawardi and Narayanganj.
Benarasi Palli, spanning from Mirpur 10 to 11 with 110 shops, has more than one lakh weavers.
Benarasi saris are made at Mirpur in Bangladesh, Benaras, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of India and at few places in Pakistan.
During the partition in 1947, some 125 families migrated to Parbatipur of Rajshahi and to some areas of the Old Town of Dhaka such as Becharam Deuri, Kazi Alauddin Road, Kaiktuli, Tanti Bazar, Doyaganj and Gandaria from Benaras in India.
And they brought along with them their skills of weaving the famous Benarasi sari. After independence of Bangladesh, the artisans who were in Dhaka started to live in the refugee camps of Mirpur and made their living from weaving saris.
Gradually their small handloom industry began to expand and so did the production. Sari making at Mirpur gradually grew into big industry from what was initially cottage industry.
Towards the late nineties, a big market also grew up alongside the sari-making units at Mirpur. This is now known as the Benarasi Palli.
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