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The word Jamdani means a vase of flowers (Jam -flower, dani - that which holds). It is an apt description for this exquisitely woven fabric from Bangladesh. Its weavers are considered to be among the best in South Asia even today. The fine weave and delicate embroidery like patterns have been sought after all over the world for centuries. The texture and quality is so fine that it is described as being woven with the "thread of the winds". Jamdani has always been very expensive because of the fine quality of fabric and detailed workmanship. It was usually worn by nobility all over the world in the past. The patterns had romantic, poetic descriptions and names. Even today, jamdanis are very expensive and highly sought after. A red jamdani is a must in the trousseau of all Bangladeshi brides.

The fabric is woven very much like tapestry work. Small shuttles of colored, gold or silver threads are passed through the weft. It forms an intricate pattern in the body of the fine material. It is usually woven into six yards saris, but nowadays the material is available for kurtas for men and women. The body of the sari is scattered with delicate floral sprays – hence the name jamdani or flower vase.

The different patterns have their own, often exotic names. When a diagonal pattern of floral sprays covers the entire length of the sari, the sari is called tercha. The loose flowing end of the sari, known as the aanchal, is usually decorated with bold corner motifs, known as jhalar. The most prized design among jamdanis is known as panna hazaar (thousand emeralds). In this exquisite work of art, the beauty of floral pattern is enhanced by gold and silver thread flowers that have been interlaced in between like little precious gems.

A traditional pattern that has many variations but is an eternal favorite is the kalka or mango motif. Most elaborate weaves have the kalka in some form in their design. Many of the very fine and intricate patterns are not created any more. Some patterns that were passed down over the generations in weavers’ families have been revived, with traditional fabrics once more finding their place as sought after items. These include the traditional nilambari, dyed with indigo, and toradar. Other jamdani patterns, like phulwar, are worked on a background fabric of black, blue black, grey or off-white. Many delicate motifs are named after indigenous flowers.

Exports of Bangladesh, Trade, Business

Like many other third-world countries, Bangladesh relies quite heavily on exports to provide for the needs of its densely populated nation. The same products sold locally will generally fetch a much lower price than they would on the international market. This means that it is far more profitable for the country to engage in exportation than it is to engage in local trade. While this may mean that a large percentage of the countries GDP is sent off abroad as Bangladesh exports instead of being enjoyed by the country’s own people, it also allows for a steady influx of foreign currency.

Currently Bangladesh’s main export items are garments, jute and jute-related goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood. Just three years ago the country made over $2,000 billion from export trade. The majority of the country’s trade is conducted with the USA but a small portion of exports also sees its way to Germany, the UK, France and Italy. However these figures should not mislead you into thinking that the country is well-off. As one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world, the majority of these profits will generally make their way into the pockets of a few wealthy while the rest will be thinly spread out amongst those involved in the production of these goods. To add to this, the country’s economy depends on an erratic monsoon cycle as well as drought and flooding which makes regular harvesting difficult.

Besides these Bangladesh exports, the country is also engaged in the production of rice, tea, sugar wheat, ship scrap metal, textiles, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, ceramic tableware and newsprint. Though yields can at times be quite high, the country still faces widespread poverty and it is struggling to free itself from this. Some progress has been made, but there are still many people living below the breadline in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Real Estate, Property, Business

Not many people consider investing their hard-earned money in Bangladesh real estate but it is something worth considering. Not only are properties in Bangladesh very good value for money when converted from the local currency, but there are a number of homes in all shapes and sizes available. If you prefer to start from scratch, you will find that construction is affordable too. Real estate in Bangladesh is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be a real adventure for those who are willing to give it a try.

There are usually a fair number of properties that are available for purchase on the Internet and even more in the local newspapers. Most foreigners can purchase a fairly large, luxuriant home without scraping their pockets clean. This is one of the main advantages of purchasing real estate in Bangladesh – it is really affordable! Before deciding whether or not to purchase such a property, you will likely need to ask yourself what it will be used for. Will you rent it out at relatively low rates and use the proceeds to enjoy the odd vacation in Bangladesh? Or will you use it simply as a holiday home – a place where you can get away from the stresses related to modern living? Yet another option is that of purchasing a property that you intend to make your home at some stage.

It would be very difficult for a realtor to sell a foreigner on the idea of purchasing real estate in Bangladesh. It is really a choice you need to make for yourself. Why not consider this option when next you look at investing in real estate beyond your borders? You never know what bargains you might find!

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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