The ‘sharee’ as the bengalies pronounce it or saree is without doubt a garment which is remarkable for its resilience of so many centuries. The hot tropical climate demands a cotton saree. The cotton has been our leading crop and what better than an indigenous saree. The nations pride and the delight of a Bengali woman. Its sphere is wide and the bengal tant saree is loved in India as well as abroad. The broad borders and the woven pallus are the trademark of this saree.
The beauty of this saree is its individuality and indianness. The weavers in Bengal wove dhotis, fabric along with sarees. Weaving is sacrosanct with their life. It was done as a practice which was commonplace. The presence of weaving in high circles has been evident even in the 15th century, West Bengal. The Mughals also favoured it. Muslin was worn by the elite and the common class wore cotton. Weaving was encouraged and jamdani also evolved during this time. This tradition was carried on till the East India Company. An era of modernisation, then started and Shantipur in West Bengal prospered with many weaves under their belt.
The creation of Bangladesh created a furore as now there was displacement. Bangladeshi weavers went from here and Hindu weavers arrived from Bangladesh and settled in colonies in Phulia in West Bengal The tangail weavers of Bangladesh brought new skills to our land and weaving underwent a refreshing change for the better, as weaving improved, where ever they settled. Over the years their skills have been honed and we have excellent cotton weaving in West Bengal and Bangladesh. The districts of Hooghly and Burdwan have emerged as major producers of excellent cotton tant sarees.
The weaving has improved multi fold and the varieties have changed. Embroidery, painting or block printing has been added to the saree. There is now also a Bengal tant. So things have to evolve and that is the beauty of life. Chief Minister of Bengal, Mamta Banerjee is known to wear only tant sarees. The saree needs a lot of maintenance, as the saree has to be starched to be worn. Always dry your sarees in the shade, to keep the bright colour. As with all things nice, there is a cost. So keep your saree well and it will stay with you for a lifetime. Shatika has a wonderful range of cotton tant sarees online which are wearable and a delight in those hot dusty summers when only cotton, can give you relief.