My story: all about Jamdani
My family used to live in a rural area which was far away from the city’s modern life. There was no electricity at all at the beginning which meant no electronic media. We did not have any clue as to know what was going on outside our village unless somebody went to the cities. In our tiny village no one heard the word Jamdani and I never heard my grandma, mum or aunties talking about any clothing trend or fashion. They were far from any of this. They used to depend on their husband or son to buy clothes for them from the market. If door to door sellers visited, only then they would have the opportunity to choose for themselves.
In the late 80’s my family moved to the city and this is when we had a taste of city life. One day I heard my mum talking about Jamdani with lots of excitement and she wished to have one. Sadly, this artistic hand-woven fabric was really expensive and our middle class family could not afford it. My mum had to wait a few more months to get her dream sari. I saw so much happiness on her face while she was holding it, touching it, or looking at the mirror with her sari on. She loved it the most because of its lightness and she used to wear it at almost every single special occasion. Afterwards she was able to afford a few more of them but her affection and love towards the Jamdani did not waver over time. The fact that her very first Jamdani is still intact after 35 long years just proves testament to the care in the way she stored it.
This is when I started to love this eye catching ornamental fabric. My first Jamdani sari was white with a red border and red thread work all over it. The pallu (the loose end of a sari) was also red in colour with very beautiful elaborated golden zari (a type of gold thread used decoratively on Indian clothing) designs on it. I wore it during the Bangali New Year Festival. I felt very comfortable and unique and at the same time felt proud as it reflects my culture, my identity and my heritage.
Jamdani was a symbol of aristocracy in the past but nowadays, popularity of this sari is huge. When women wear it enhances their beauty without any makeover. Religious, cultural or any other ritual, women love to wear it. Two years ago when I went to my younger brother wedding, I bought a bright red Jamdani with red thread work along with ‘zari butta’ all over it. Especially, the golden thin border makes this sari more elegant and classy.
Long ago, to see my mum’s eagerness towards this sari made me curious. I asked my mum what is so special about this sari. She replied that she feels part of a larger community and that in the future I would feel that too. Today my daughter asked me the same as me. Deep in my heart I believe this curiosity will make her love it and this is the way jamdani will survive generation after generation.