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Attractive handiwork of needles and threads from 20 villages

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Middle-aged women, young girls and even children at Dhelapeer village in Saidpur upazila of Nilphamari are busy making artistic fancy works on women’s dresses, setting chumki, puti, jori, colourful stones and other articles with the help of needles and threads to supply the attractive dresses to Dhaka-based garment traders ahead of Eid.Photo: STAR

Several thousand women in around 20 remote villages under the district are now busy making artistic fancy works on women’s dresses like saris, scarves, blouses and kameezes as several Dhaka-based garment traders placed orders to make fashionable designs ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

Getting the attractive designs done for very cheap labour, traders make a good profit while the seasonal earning helps the artisans, mostly poor women, to have a joyful festival with family members.

This correspondent in last couple of days visited the handiwork at several villages like Dhelapeer, Islambagh, Golahat and Neyamatpur of Saidpur upazila, Tenganmari, Rajarhat, Dundibari and Pourasava under Jaldhaka upazila, and Panchapukur and Kanial Khata of Sadar upazila.

Sitting at their house yard in circles, middle-aged women, young girls and even children were seen making artistic designs on different kinds of clothes by setting chumki, puti, jori, colourful stones, lace and other fancy articles with the help of needles and threads.

Artisans usually learn the art of making the attractive designs from family members and neighbours.

As small children, they start the work as assistants of their mothers or elder sisters.

“We do these design work after finishing our domestic chores in the morning. My nine-year-old daughter also helps me in the work and learns the art,” Shakila Banu, an artisan in Dhelapur village said.

“Dhaka-based traders supply sarees and other clothes and necessary fancy articles and catalogues containing various designs. Village women make the designs, according to choice of the order suppliers,” said Anwar Hossain, president of ‘Karu shilpi samobai samity’ in Saidpur.

Some local garments traders who have show rooms in Saidpur, Jaldhaka and Nilphamari like Champa Karchupi House, Pappu Fashion, Ruma Fashion, Mukta Fashion, Mina Batik House, Saudia Handicraft usually co-ordinate between Dhaka-based traders and village artisans in this work.

They sell a portion of the products at local markets while the larger portion is sent to Dhaka traders in exchange of handsome amounts of commission. Some local garment traders and individuals also supply clothes and fancy goods to village women for getting the artistic works done.

“The work starts in full swing two months before the Eid-ul-Fitr as hundreds of sarees and other dresses with artistic designs are prepared and sent to the capital. But the import of Indian dresses with machine-made designs leave a negative impact on local handiwork industry,” SM Ali, owner of Champa Karchupi House, told newsmen.

Depending on the nature and quality of designs, an artisans gets Tk 700-Tk 1200 as wage for a saree, Tk 250-400 for a modesty scarf and Tk 100-Tk 250 for a blouse, sources said. It takes at least 15 days to make complete design on a silk saree.

Several artisans of Dhelapeer village of Saidpur upazila, including Baby Akhtar, Kazoli, Parveen, Shahida, Moni, Ayesha, and Asha said the seasonal work enables them to buy new dresses, churi, bangles, toys and other things as well as arrange good food for family members on the occasion of the Eid.

Depending on the quality of cloth and gravity of design, a designed saree is usually sold for Tk 5,000-Tk 30,000 in Dhaka, sources said.

Amid rising popularity of the items, the number of orders from Dhaka is increasing and more and more women are getting involved in this seasonal profession.


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