Good news for Bengal handloom saree enthusiasts: Tantuja is poised for a revival
I was associated with the Design Department of Tantuja, the Apex Society of handloom weavers’ cooperative societies in West Bengal, for two and a half years.
Tantuja sarees = West Bengal handloom
With its headquarters in Kolkata, Tantuja has for long been synonymous with Banglar tant (literally Bengal handloom). It has also seen one of the largest Government interventions in the handloom sector in this part of the world (it is under the Ministry of Micro and Small Scale Enterprises and Textiles, Govt. of West Bengal). To give you a small picture, it has nearly 450 active member societies, and 100 exclusive retail outlets!
The major retail products as of now are -
Handloom sarees (tant sarees) : -
- Silk: – Murshidabad silk printed saree; Garod, Baluchari, Matka, Korial and Fulia silk sarees;
- Cotton: – Tangail, Shantipuri, Dhaniakhali, Begampuri sarees
Handloom bedsheets: – Printed/woven
Handloom Stoles: – Silk and cotton
Others: – Dhoti, lungi, gamchha
There is also a vast range of embroidered sarees with kantha, ari and zari work.
With the winds of change blowing, it’s turnaround time here at Tantuja. You may expect a strong revival effort over the next few years. Talks are on about the merger of all the different textile undertakings of the Govt. of West Bengal. Don’t be surprised if Tantuja emerges as the single major player in Bengal handloom once that consolidation takes place.
Let’s hope the somnolent giant actually flexes its muscles once again!