Now, an app for Baluchari fashion wear

Kolkata: To prevent next generation of weavers from abandoning the heritage art, the West Bengal Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd (Manjusha) on Tuesday launched an e-commerce portal and app exclusively devoted to promoting the 300-year-old Baluchari form of weaving, through not just sarees but via a variety of products. Manjusha launched a range of Baluchari weave products such as ties, jackets for men and women, shirts for men as well as wooden jewellery replicating the characteristic arrangement of warp and wefts depicting scenes from epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) and courtly ceremonies as patterns on a piece of fabric, usually silks. "We have collaborated with Brand next to accumulate the best artisans who have carried on the craft through generations. On offer are 121 items ranging from silks to ties, jackets, shirts to kurtas," said Amit Dutta, Managing Director, Manjusha. Baluchari weaving was brought to a small village named Baluchar along the bank of river Bhagirathi in Murshidabad district of Bengal in the 18th century under the patronisation of first Nawab of Bengal, Murshid Quli Khan. The hub of the craft later shifted to Bishnupur in Bankura district, the capital of the Malla rulers. Dutta said the website also enables consumers to watch how the sarees are being made manually on traditional looms. Usually, one saree takes anywhere from five to six days to a few weeks to be completed depending on the intricacy of the patterns. Two artisans work through eight-hour shifts each, per day, on a saree, to create the elaborate motifs on the border and 'pallu'. "Apart from promoting it worldwide, we are also going for product diversification by launching Baluchari patterned ties and jackets etc. Buyers can also customise the designs they want," said Dutta who also launched QR-code enabled 'Virtual Shoppe Cards' for privileged customers.