Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dream to make Bengali handicrafts popular through Biswa Bangle stores has been very successful with both national and foreign tourists along with non-resident Indians visiting the outlets regularly.
A huge Biswa Bangla convention centre is coming up at New Town where a space will be reserved to showcase Bengal’s handicrafts many of which are centuries old.
Biswa Bangla is also providing a platform for contemporary designers to showcase their talents. The jute handicrafts have also found a place in the showrooms.
Fashion designers working with contemporary style are designing some of the products to make them appealing to the younger generation.
In Biswa Bangla outlet at Dakshinapan in Dhakuria, ornaments made of muslin are getting immensely popular among foreigners. “The muslin kurtas and spotless white shirts are favourites among the NRIs and foreigners,” said the manager of the shop.
“We are promoting muslin fabric of 200 counts and we are preparing to promote muslin of 400-500 counts in the near future. We have shirts and sarees in muslin fabric and the most expensive and sought after range of sarees are those priced at Rs 1,20,000-1,50,000. Our Dokra Kali masks are in high demand among the foreigners. We display the names of the craftsmen and the time taken to complete the work along with the products to encourage them. We have the Indo-Portuguese shawls and the specially woven balaposh quilts too. Our store has a collection of Bengali novels, cinema and paintings as well. We have a factory which manufactures ethnic Bengali food including mustard sauce and honey (raw materials come from the Sundarbans),” said Sushovan Roychoudhury, an executive of the Park Street, Kolkata outlet.
With showrooms at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Park Street, Dhakuria, and New Delhi, Biswa Bangla is doing a commendable job in reaching out to the world. There are plans to open Biswa Bangla stores outside the country as well to drum up interest among foreigners to buy Bengal’s handicrafts.