India’s Ministry of Culture has removed a Facebook post claiming that the Tangail saree belongs to India. That post is no longer visible on the ministry’s Facebook page since Monday.
India recognized Bangladesh’s traditional Tangail saree as its ‘GI product’ on January 2. But the matter came to light last Thursday after a post from the verified Facebook page of India’s Ministry of Culture.
The post said, ‘Tangail sari originated from West Bengal. It is a traditional handwoven masterpiece. Famous for its fine texture, varied colors and delicate Jamdani motifs. It symbolizes the rich cultural heritage of the region. Every saree in Tangail is a testament to the skillful craftsmanship that blends tradition and rich beauty.’
Soon after the post came to notice, there was a fierce debate across Bangladesh and there were demands to take the GI rights of Tangail sarees to Bangladesh.
According to the Department of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks of India, on September 8, 2020, Tantubai Samavaya Samiti of West Bengal filed an application with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of India, claiming a patent for the Tangail saree. In view of that application, the Department of Design and Trade Marks of the Ministry of Commerce recognized Tangail Saree as a product of Nadia and East Burdwan in West Bengal.
The GI mark of the saree is said to be ‘Bangla Tangail Saree’. It is a hybrid saree with a combination of Shantipur design and Dhakai Tangail. It was developed in India in the early 20th century. Hence West Bengal and India as the preferred country of origin are mentioned in the application. At the same time, the validity of this registration will remain till September 7, 2030, it has been mentioned in the acknowledgment.
The petition also mentions that the weavers’ clans surrounding Phulia in Nadia district and weavers from Tangail, Bangladesh currently make ‘Bangla Tangail sarees’. This saree originated in West Bengal, India. This saree was made in Dhatrigram and Samudragarh of the present East Brahmanpara and Phulia town of Nadia. It is also made in some other places.
But researchers and historians say that the origin of the Tangail saree is in Bangladesh and its name comes from it. As the climate of Bangladesh is temperate, boys in Tangail wear lungi-gamcha and girls wear sarees, which have come to be known as Tangail sarees. This saree started to be made when the Tangail region was developed.
Meanwhile, Textile and Jute Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak, in response to a question from reporters at the secretariat yesterday about Tangail Saree’s GI, said, ‘India has patented it. How they did it, is their internal matter. We don’t know. But we are urgently sitting in the ministry today about it. We had a meeting. Tangail Sari to make all the arrangements for our stay, we are taking the arrangements very quickly.’