Why a Bengal village is losing its sleep over nightmare in Afghanistan | India News
"We have been in this business for three generations. Till last year, I had an annual turnover of Rs 1 crore just from selling these turbans but the trade has come to a sudden stop now," said Shyamapada Dutta, 49, who runs a loom at Sonamukhi and has a shop at Rabindra Sarani in Kolkata.
Sonamukhi's ties with Afghans dates back to the 1960s when some Kabuliwallahs while travelling across Bengal with their spices and dry fruits were drawn to the village known for its rich silk weaves. "They gave the first orders for silk turbans and liked the products so much that they kept coming back for more, and that is how the trade began," said Asit Baran Shoo, another weaver. He added that even in the 1990s around 500 families in the village were engaged in the turban trade but the number has now dwindled to around 50 owing to digital printing and a large section of new-age Afghans discarding turbans. The turbans are priced between Rs 350 and Rs 3,500 depending on the quality of silk used.
City-based Afghans like Md Rasul and Akhdat Khan told they had time and again bought turbans from the Rabindra Sarani store as well as from Sonamukhi either for personal use or for export. "But the situation looks grim now. We have no idea when things will get better," said Rasul, who has been in Kolkata for the last 40 years and deals in garments.
(Inputs from Sudipto Das)
August 21, 2021, 10:51 pm