'Tangail saree is ours,' Hasina says amid Bangladesh-India tussle over GI tag

The prime minister says she has been deliberately wearing the saree for the past few days to affirm its Bangladeshi origin

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 23 Feb 2024, 10:43 AM
Updated : 23 Feb 2024, 10:43 AM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina revealed that she has been wearing Tangail sarees recently to affirm its Bangladeshi origin amid an ongoing tug of war over the product's Geographical Indication (GI) status between Bangladesh and India.

Describing it as a 'strategic move', she said, “For the past few days, I have chosen to wear the Tangail saree to demonstrate that it is ours, and it cannot be claimed by others.”

The prime minister was speaking at a media briefing on Friday following her recent visit to Germany for the Munich Security Conference.

The origin of the Tangail saree became the subject of heated debate after India's Ministry of Industries received GI recognition for the product, which it called the 'Tangail Saree of Bengal'.

In a Facebook post, the Indian Ministry of Culture asserted that the Tangail saree originated from West Bengal, a claim that contradicts the saree's deep-rooted association with Bangladesh.

The move sparked a backlash in Bangladesh, with saree merchants, legal experts, and rights advocates questioning how India could claim the GI recognition for the Tangail saree, given that Tangail is a region in Bangladesh and the handloom saree is a distinctly Bangladeshi product.

In response, Bangladesh took steps to secure the intellectual property rights for this traditional attire.

On Feb 6, the Tangail District Administration filed for a GI certificate, which was subsequently granted by the Department of Patent, Design, and Trademarks. Hasina later received the GI certificates for three iconic Bangladeshi products, including the Tangail saree.

The briefing took an interesting turn when a reporter complimented the prime minister on her commitment to promoting Bangladeshi attire, particularly the Jamdani and Tangail sarees, while mistakenly assuming that she was wearing a Tangail saree at the event.

“Actually, this is a chiffon saree from Gazipur’s Safipur,” Hasina replied.

“This saree was crafted by members of our Ansar and VDP in Safipur. While people often admire French chiffon, I have dubbed this the Safipur chiffon. I buy these sarees from them as gifts for others. Today, I chose to wear it myself.”