The Nakshi Kantha
Different nations all over the world have different cultures and traditions. The Bangalees also have their own culture and tradition. The Nakshi Kantha is a distinct part of Bangalee culture.
Nakshi means design, pattern or embroidery and Kantha is the Bengali word for quilt. So, Nakshi Kantha is a kind of embroidered quilt especially made by natural women. Nobody knows when the tradition of Nakshi Kantha started but it has been going on for thousands of years.
Usually the rural women remain very busy with their household chores. If they have some leisure period, they try to use them effectively. They store the used and torn clothes for future use, mainly for making Kantha or quilt. Along with these thorn clothes, they use colourful threads.
Nakshi Kanthas are made through stitching with needle. It’s entirely a manual process. Women depict different types of patterns stitching with threads of different colour. Natural beauty of Bangladesh mainly get place there. Rural people use to gift a Nakshi Kantha to their near and dear ones and the pattern or design of the Kantha depends on whom it is going to be gifted. Gifting Nakshi Kantha to son-in-law wile marrying of a daughter is an age old tradition of Bangladesh.
Usually Nakshi Kanthas are of three kinds according to size: long, medium and short. The long Kanthas are used as quilt to beautify bed and the short ones are used as handkerchiefs. These embroidered handkerchiefs are gifted by wives and beloved to their husbands and loving ones as a token of remembrance. When a newly married girl becomes pregnant, her mother stitches the medium size of Nakshi Kantha for her froth coming grand children. The same kind of Kantha is also stitched by mother.
Nakshi Kantha is an important part of Bangla literature. There are so many songs and poems written based on Nakshi Kantha. The world famous epic ‘Nakshi Kanthar Math’ by Jasim Uddin is a great piece of Bangla literature.
It is necessary to mention that West Bengal, India also practices the culture of Nakshi Kantha. Though Nakshi Kantha is a part of culture, the picture has been changed positively. Now a day Nakshi Kantha’s are produced commercially and thousands of Kanthas are exported to different countries of the world. Many rural women are getting benefited from this trade.
A culture doesn’t live itself. It is our duty to keep it alive for long. Our new generation hardly has any idea about our age old tradition. It is our duty to make them aware of it. We all should use Nakshi Kantha to to introduce the generation with it.