Sunday special : The Golden Fibre of Bengal (

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surajit koley (Google Drive)

Sep 2, 2012, 11:26:03 AM9/2/12
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The Golden Fibre of Bengal

Internet tells you half the story, mostly put forward by semi-literate persons (me too), for i searched ‘The golden fibre of Bengal’, and i get “Golden Fibre of Bangladesh”. In future, say, 50 yrs. from now, an average reader may not be aware of the fact that what has been termed as “The Golden Fibre of Bangladesh” was actually a native fibre grown and extensively used in Bengal Province.

What you will find in the net :-

History :-

  1. Indians, especially Bengalis, used ropes and twines made of white jute from ancient times for household and other uses. -
  2. During Mughal era in India, jute clothes were worn by the poor villagers. Earlier in West Bengal, ropes and twines used for different domestic household applications are made of white jute. Apart from textile application, Chinese paper manufacturers used jute plants to abstract paper. -
  3. In 1793, the Bengal Board of Trade sent a Jute fibre sample to the United Kingdom strictly for experimentation related to mechanical processing. The breakthrough came in 1833, when Jute fibre was spun mechanically in Dundee, Scotland. -
  4. Margaret Donnelly, a jute mill landowner in Dundee in the 1800s, set up the first jute mills in Bengal.-
  5. The first Indian Jute mill was constructed in 1855 at Calcutta (Currently spelled Kolkata), which was the capital of the Bengal Province in British India. -
  6. Mr. George Acland had brought jute spinning machinery from Dundee to India, the first power driven weaving factory was established at Rishra, on the River Hooghly near Calcutta in year 1855. -
  7. By the year 1869, five mills were established with around 950 looms. The growth was so fast that, by the year 1910, 38 companies were operating around 30,685 looms, rendering more than a billion yards of cloth and over 450 million bags. -
  8. By the early 1900s the Calcutta Jute industry surpassed the European Jute industry. -
  9. In India 4000,000 families are involved in the cultivation of raw jute.  There are 76 jute mills in India and nearly 1,37,679(Oct.2001) people are employed in these mills.  Several thousand other people are engaged in several jute related diversified goods. -

Botanical Aspect :-

  1. Jute (Corchorus capsularis & Corchorus olitorius), Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) and Roselle (H. sabdariffa var. altissima) are vegetable bast fibre plants next to cotton in importance. In the trade there are usually two names of jute, White and Tossa. Corchorus capsularis is called White Jute and Corchorus olitorius is called Tossa Jute. In India & Bangladesh Roselle is usually called Mesta. Jute fibres are finer and stronger than Mesta and are, therefore, better in quality. -
  2. Kenaf known as Mesta or Ambari (species Hibiscus Cannabinus) is also considered as a variety of Jute.  It is cultivated in Indian sub-continent, Thailand, China and Africa.  The two main types of jute, white jute (Corchorus capsularis)and dark jute or tossa (Corchorus olitorius) are  grown in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, south Asian countries and Brazil. -

What you may not find in the net :-

  1. PATTAVASTRA, main fabrics of Ancient India was produced from Jute fibres -
  1. Leaves of Jute plant is used as SHAAK (SHAG) or leafy vegetable and, though not delicious, you can try it for a change in taste buds.
  2. Jute fibres are used to make Puja Pandals and idols
  3. Fibres were also used to make dolls
  4. Dry stems are called PAAT-KAATHI or PANKAATHI in Bengali, is used as fuel. It is essential to grow PAAN or Betel Leaf (Piper betle L.). A room, which is called PAAN BORUJ, is erected by covering a rectangle land with PANKAATHI fence. (forget whatever wiki says -
  5. Dry stems are also essential to produce fireworks - you burn in DIWALI
  6. When i was a kid i learned my first smoking lesson by lighting a small piece of dry Jute stem, did my friends!

More reading :-

  1. Golden era with rare photographs -
  2. Jute traders -
  3. Ecological aspect -
  4. Features of Jute fibre -
  5. Economic impact -
  6. Hooghly District -
  7. Jute cultivation -
  8. Recent Article -

Trivia :-

  1. species - Corchorus sp.
  2. Bengali name : PAAT
  3. Habit & Habitat : water intensive cultivated herb
  4. photographed at Balarambati (Hooghly) & Gobra (Hooghly) on 23/8/12 & 25/8/12

Thank you and Regards,

surajit / 02nd Sept., 2012

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Balkar Singh

Sep 2, 2012, 11:29:37 AM9/2/12
to surajit koley (Google Drive),
Nice Share Surajit Ji



Dr Balkar Singh
Head, Deptt. of Botany and Biotechnology
Arya P G College, Panipat

surajit koley

Sep 2, 2012, 11:43:46 AM9/2/12
to Balkar Singh,
Thank you very much Balkar Sir.



Satish Phadke

Sep 2, 2012, 1:40:34 PM9/2/12
to surajit koley, Balkar Singh,
Thanks for the interesting information. I was surprised to know that Corchorus olitorius is Jute. This plant is common in Maharashtra also. Why then Jute fiber is not produced elsewhere than Bengal?
Dr Satish Phadke


surajit koley

Sep 2, 2012, 2:03:45 PM9/2/12
to Satish Phadke, Balkar Singh,
Satish Sir,

I do not know much, but what i could apprehend is 1) cultivation of jute needs much water that Gangetic Bengal Province could provide those days, 2) extraction of jute fibres from stems ( again need much water, 3) river Hooghly played a vital role for transportation of raw jute and jute products, 4) today's Bangladesh produced best quality jutes, for optimum temp. and humidity along with soil quality, 4) British cnetred all their activities in Calcutta.

Besides, i think Maharashtra and Gujarat were more suitable for cotton production and they provided all cotton textiles to entire India. Of late jute lost its importance and states might have found it was not feasible to produce jute.

As i searched the net, while preparing my Sunday special i read Andhra produced majority of jute seeds.

This much i do know.

Thank you and regards,



Oct 25, 2012, 10:00:05 PM10/25/12
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