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Re-incarnation of Traditional Tants or "Tant Benarasi"

Handloom weaving or weaving of cotton which had flourished once upon a time, began to decline sharply by the end of the 18th century due to the lack of work and support. A general survey made later concluded that the need for clothes of the Indian population was mainly fulfilled by local handlooms, as power looms available at that time were not being able to produce sarees as exquisitely as handlooms. Unfair and biased policies of the British were detrimental even to the bare survival of the handloom weaving in the country.

To discourage the other foreigners to trade with Indian weavers, heavy duties were also levied on the import as well as export of textiles. The British were not in love with saree as a trade commodity, as Industrial Revolution had gifted them the Manchester and to flourish in world market this action was required. Later, to avoid the over-heads costs, textile mills were set up in India. 

These mills produced cheap quality cotton dhotis and sarees for the Indian masses.  , cheap cloth, manufactured by the mills, undoubtedly made a severe dent in the market for handmade textiles. It was then that Mahatma Gandhi’s  swadeshi movement inspired Indians  to drape hand woven sarees & dhotis in India.

This slaughter in mill-made textiles on handloom industry continued even after Indian got independence in 1947. Post-Independence, the plight of handloom weavers had deteriorated to such an extent that the Indian Government had to ban power looms in some areas from producing certain qualities of handloom textiles. 

Sarees was one such textile. The government also actively promoted a revivalist movement in a bid to save traditional sarees from extinction, especially from Bengal.

Bengal,  which is once famous for Dhonekahli, Shantipuri, Tangail fabrics, were  spun and woven by hand, are now preparing themselves to be back on the shop shelves. Earlier in the 19th century though it was destroyed by the East India Company, is about to get a fresh life. Thanks to the sudden discovery of them in the Indian Museum!

East Indian states, especially Bengal are extremely proud of producing Tant.  With this traditional tant, ancient Bengal has kept a strong sense of its culture and tradition alive. Bengali women are often seen draped elegantly in Tant. By wearing Tant, Bengali women portray a motherly figure, which is the most loved and alluring look of Bengali women.

Vibrant colours, sometimes vegetable colours along with the bright designs and embroidery are available in these sarees. While the young generation is fond of bright colours and designs of tant sarees, the older women are very often draped in white or lighter shades of these sarees with simple borders and decorated motifs.

However, post independence, the best weaving talents fought to triumph over the dark phase and struggled hard to keep the traditional essence and hand weaving skills alive. 

This art however sharpened and nurtured with the time and generations. With the influence of the modern day fashion trends Banglar Tant besides holding its essence, has improved itself more and more to be at its peak. 

These days’ the traditional weaver are breaking their ancient rules and rediscovering them in the air of globalization. They do not just add charm and grace to these sarees, with new technology they have also brought a cross-cultural trend in the sarees to increase its acceptability throughout the mass.

The thick – bordered and neatly designed traditional Tants are now reborn as it blends with the fabrics of other cultures in the nation.

Traditional BanglarTant Sarees have re- incarnated themselves into “Tant Benarasi” when the  simple colours are blent with the gorgeous designs of Benarasi sarees.

Kanjeepuram silk sarees has gained popularity among women for its luster, zari and thread work. They radiate royalty in women, especially South Indian women during their day of wedding. But, the simple Tants get a royal look when blend with the gorgeous designs of Kanjeepuram silk sarees, thereby transforming the entire meaning of elegance and they are renamed as “Reshmi Kanchipuram” sarees.

Thus this blending of cultures in Tant defined the gorgeous in a whole new way. This blend is a boon for Banglar Tant, that creates a new definition for the modern closet and is in the way to re-capture its lost 

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