Historical Background of Muslin:
Muslin was a brand name of pre colonial Bengal textile , especially of Dhaka origin .The Muslin fabric here has a special place of pride on the hearts of Bangladeshis. There was a proverb that a full Muslin garment can pass through a signet ring because of its fineness.
During fourteenth or fifteenth century Muslin fabric got established through the patronage of muslim rulers in this part of the country .The best time to spin the yarn was in the early hours of the day or late afternoon ,when the humidity and temperatures were just right .Most of the spinners were young nimble fingered girl with excellent vision between the age of fifteen to twenty .Muslin fabric was produced by a particular community known as the Basak of Dacca.
The word Muslin comes from the word Masul, the capital of Kurdistan , Iraq. The spinners and weavers of Masul were familiar to produce yarns and fabrics of different variety .During the reign of Sultan Qutubuddin of Turkey special(long staple) cotton seeds were brought from Masul and few selected local artists were trained . The Basaks of Dacca not only learn the art but also improve techniques to produce world famous Dacca Muslin.
When the sonargaon was the capital of ancient Bangle in the period of Akbar ,it was the important port of exporting Muslin all over the world .Among the Europians ,the Dutch and the French were first to take up this trade on commercial basis .Then it was came into know the English people .
Dhaka Muslin became famous and attracted foreign and transmarine buyers after the establishment of the Mughal capital at Dhaka .The Muslin industry of Dhaka received patronage from the Mughal emperors ,provincial governors and high officers and nobles .In the great Exhibition of London ,Dhaka Muslin occupied a prominent place ,attracted a large number of visitors and British Press spoke very highly marvelous Muslin fabrics of Dhaka .
At 1862, there was a comparison between Dacca Muslin and Europian fabric and Dacca Muslin was proved as best among those. We can realize the actual situation from the speech of Dr. Watson and that is
“However viewed ,therefore ,our manufacturers have something still to do .With all our machinery and wondrous appliances ,we have hitherto been unable to produce a fabric which for fineness and utility can equal the woven air of Dacca .The product of an arrangement which appear rude and primitive but which in reality admirably adapted for their purpose.”
The aggravation of Muslin was started from 1785 due to the establishment of textile industry at Nottingham in England.
Due to this industrial revolution in Europe, export of Muslin from Dhaka was reduced rapidly. It was the first step of extinction of Dacca Muslin .Another reason was the tyranny of employee of Kings and East India company upon the Muslin manufacturers and that is why many of manufacturers had cut their own finger(Thumb) and withdrawn themselves from their profession .
Todays the name “Muslin” is only a history of ancient Bengal. Nowadays the tradition of Muslin is slightly carried by the “Jamdani” manufacturers.
We the textile engineers are very much hopeful to reproduce Muslin in Bangladesh.