Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 16, Tuesday October 12, 2004






Shop Special

Shoshyo Prabartana

The name itself conjures up a feeling of freshness, and the name holds true for all the products available at Shoshyo Prabartana. As customers, we wish to purchase food products that are nothing short of whole and pure. The market, however, disappoints us time and again with adulterated material and tampered goods, which inevitably becomes a major health concern for us all. Shoshyo Prabartana literally appears as a lifesaver with its quality control food products, and with its strong advocacy of non-chemical agricultural production. Their practice is based on a very simple, yet solid guideline, which is as follows:

No use of pesticides
No chemical fertilizers
No mono culture (i.e., not growing one single species of crop, rather, practicing bio diversity by including multiple species).

One can be rest assured that this place does not compromise when it comes to quality, and the purity of goods that they sell. Everything at Shoshyo Prabartana comes directly from their farming grounds in Tangail, Ishwardi, Kushtia, Chokoria in Cox's Bazaar, and Maijda in Noakhali, and these places are kept under constant surveillance and supervision to ensure quality of the crops produced. Their whole grains, vegetables and so on are all organically grown, which means that no pesticides are used; it is a given that nothing is hybrid or chemically high yielding.

Some of their more popular products are the fresh Mustard Oil, crushed in the traditional way with the help of bullocks, and the pure Ghee or butter oil. Many homemakers also like to purchase their garam masala (such as bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, etc) and all other kinds of curry spices from here. Shoshyo Prabartana has also revived some of the kinds of rice (eg. Tulsi Mala, Begun Bichi and so on), lentils (Orhor, Kheshari, Motor, Shona Mung Daal, Chelon Daal, Rangima Seem to name a few), and a few other food products such as Cchatu (a wheat-like cereal) that had become obsolete in the market. The shop has recently made available dry fish or Shutki, a favourite delicacy of many. This too is completely unadulterated, and processed without any DDT. The fish comes in trawlers, and are hung and dried in the sun while on their way to the city.

As the month of Ramzan draws near, Shoshyo Prabartana will draw many of their loyal clientele to purchase their Cchola or chickpea / gram, powdered besan or lentil flour (necessary for making delicious beguni and fried potato balls, better known as aloo'r bora), Muri or puffed rice, dried Tamarind (to make Tamarind juice), Gur, and of course, their pure honey.

For Ramzan, except for sugar, one can get all kinds of quality food products the kitchen might require at Shoshyo Prabartana.

By Rubaiyat Khan


Rong Berong: A small world of terracotta jewellery

It's impossible to deny the fact that terracotta jewellery appears fashionable and looks just fantastic if you properly pair them with the right kinds of cotton saris.

If you are an avid fan of terra-cotta jewellery then it's time you took a look at the eye catching ornaments designed and crafted by Wahida Islam (Kakoli). It's been over 4 years that this housewife has been making jewellery from clay. She has participated in numerous fairs held by MIDAS, RAOWA Club, Officers' Club (Baily Road), SAARC Trade Fair etc and won praises of many.

Wahida sells her jewellery from her home; a small, well decorated showroom at her very flat upholds a wide collection of jewellery of numerous patterns and colours. Her terracotta jewellery look elegant and unlike others they display colours ranging from blue, black, pink, green, and maroon, yellow and orange!

At Rong Berong, a set comprising a pair of earrings and a necklace will cost you between tk.50 and tk.250. If you want you can even purchase a matching head adornment (tikli), each of which will cost you tk.40. Wahida also creates wonderful plus colourful terra-cotta bangles that are characterised by intricate motifs. Each piece of her bangle is priced at tk.50. Wahida also makes stylish bridal terracotta jewellery sets, which you can buy on occasion of your sister or daughter's gaye holud. Each of these unique bridal sets will cost you tk.300 and above.

Wahida will be soon taking part at the India-Bangladesh handicrafts fair (which would be held at Sheraton Grand Ballroom) from 11 October to 13 October. She is planning to display a broad collection of her exquisite terracotta ornaments at this exposition. So if you want you too can pay a visit to this fair and take a look at her exclusive handiwork.

Among young girls, whose age usually ranges from 16 to 25 years, terra-cotta jewellery is extensively in style. Such jewellery not only harmonises with saris, but also complements salwar kameezs and cotton fotuas. So say goodbye to metal ornaments for a while and feel the charm of traditional terra-cotta jewellery. The store is situated House # 13, 3rd Floor, Road # 19, Sector # 11, Uttara, Dhaka.

By Wara Karim


Be a trendsetter this Eid

Eid shopping spree is about to begin. Shop owners are all set; they are bringing in new lots for the biggest festival of the year. Here is a little hint for those of you getting ready to join the buzz. Be a trendsetter this year and focus on alternative shopping. For instance, other than opting for all the glittery and glossy expensive ornaments, think matt, think terracotta or oxidised. Dhaka is full of outlets offering terracotta ornaments both handmade and machine made. Deals in silver and oxidised metal ornaments are also great. They are cheap and can give you a brand new look.

If you do decide to be the trendsetter, Aziz Super Market at Shahbag is the place for you. The market is absolutely a down-to-earth place and it certainly does not have a classy look. However, don't be disappointed by its appearance since inside, the market has great deals to offer. All the ornament stores are on the first floor. Ideas have two outlets. They offer terracotta earrings starting from tk20 to tk100 and bangles from tk40 to tk70. Bracelets made of wood and clay would cost tk20 to tk150 and their necklace sets cost tk60 to tk300.

Vertical, in the same market, has exclusive items designed and prepared by the students of 'Fine Arts'. They offer bracelets at tk20, earrings at tk35, bangles at tk70 and necklaces from tk70 to tk95. Besides Vertical, check out Zahid crafts, Earthen, Megh, and Jahanara Cottage Industries.

Lets move on to some other outlets offering more of these items. You must not miss Aarong. In all their outlets (currently 5 in Dhaka), the salesgirls at the ornament section are always busy. We will highlight their silver items. Check out their maaduli, haashuli and maakri. These traditional items cost around tk195 to tk560. Kundan set costs tk1500. Their Silver anklets with meena work on them are simply stunning. Their prices vary from tk230 to tk600. Also check out their oxidised silver bit items, their bracelets, bangles and earrings.

Piran is one exclusive place that deserves the spotlight. This little outlet, situated at 67, 11/A Dhanmondi, is specialised on brass ornaments. Craftsmen's work displayed in the outlet will definitely attract your attention. The price of bangles starts from tk15 and goes up to tk120, earrings cost around tk15 to tk40, bracelets tk40 to tk150, and the price of necklace sets cost tk90 to tk200. They also have some terracotta and wooden items.

Then there is Probortana at 2/8, Sir Syed road Mohammadpur always promoting craftsmen of different areas in Bangladesh. In the same building there is Idea (not to be mistaken with Ideas) specialising on terracotta items. Fashion houses like Banglar mela, Grameen Fashion, Bazaar and Grameen Uddoyg situated at Banani, Dhanmondi and Mirpur, are also in the race. There is also New Market hawkers offering cheaper deals.

Being a trendsetter means having a distinctive charm. Terracotta, oxidised metal, wooden or silver ornaments with a matt or deshi look has special appeal. These are the items now in vogue and can certainly give you a brand new persona this Eid.

By Shahnaz Parveen



Essentials Special

Country of thousand rivers
There was a time when Bangladesh was known as the 'country of thousand rivers'. Boats used to be the primary form of transportation. Boats plying in different waterways had distinctive features. Things have changed through the course of time. Life has become faster. Concrete roads and metal objects with speed took over. The unique pieces of art that used to adorn our water bodies, are now on the verge of extinction. In this week's 'Essentials' we present little pieces on this ancient craftsmanship.

Tradition of diversity
According to a survey conducted in 1963 by Akhlakur Rahman there were at least 165 types of boats in Bangladesh. Boats used in the rivers had different characteristics from those plying in the sea. Boats used in the internal waterways had prows in both front and back. They had helms shaped almost like spoons. Some boats had spoon shaped helms but no prows. Some boats were flat bottomed, and some had hulls shaped like empty spoons. These boats were used for commuting people and for carrying goods.

And dashing
Motifs from nature and images of everyday life embellished these boats. The Ghugi found in Sylhet has a bird's face made of brass attached to it in the front. In some area, boatmen engrave eyes in the front of the boat, believing if they lost their way the boat would take them to their destination. Carvings of moon, stars and floral patterns were commonly used.

Malar and Patam
The Malar is mainly used for carrying crops and found in the Pabna area. It used to be operated by sails but engines are now taking over. The Patam can be found in Sylhet area. It has twin oars with a single sail and is mostly used for carrying goods.

Panshi and Khelna
The Panshi is similar to both Kosha and Dinghy. It is mostly used for carrying people and light goods. It is also found in the surrounding area of Pabna. Khelna found in Tangail is actually used for boat races called Baich. Baich is a common form of entertainment for village folks during the rainy season. Around 30 to 40 Mallah (oarsmen) pull the boat accompanied by drummers to cheer them up.

Shampan and Podi
The Shampan has twin oars and plies in the rivers close to the seacoast. It carries both people and goods. Shampans in the Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, and Mongla area have triangular sails. These boats even sail in the Bay of Bengal. It is said that the features of Shampan are inspired by Chinese traditions.

Kosha and Dinghy
These two types of boats are found all across Bangladesh. The Dinghy, however, is mostly found in Pabna district. These boats are commonly used for household purposes, especially for going to short distances like to the village bazaar or to a relative's house in another village. A larger form of Kosha is used for carrying cattle.

To salvage a dying heritage
These are just a few of the hundreds. These boats represent the once rich but dying heritage of Bangladesh. Serious attention is needed to salvage these wonderful works of art from the edge of extinction.

By Shahnaz Parveen
Acknowledgement: Bengal Shilpaloy





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