Dhaka, March 2021. Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) is profoundly appreciative to Dr. Monzur Hossain for his dedication to Science and Society. We honor Professor Monzur and his team for taking the initiative to bestow and restore our National pride and boon in the form of the famed Muslin for Bangladesh. Enjoy a glimpse of his works in the words of Nuzhat Faizah, student, Independent University, Bangladesh.
The renaissance of Muslin -a multitudinous blessing for Bangladesh
One of the most captivating bedtime stories I could recall from the Dacca era, narrated by my grandfather consists of the Bengal Muslin, a translucent gossamer gaining its well-deserved fame because of the Mughal Emperors. It was neither just the finest fabled cloth associated with our heritage and history; nor the celebrated Mughal apparatus exhibiting a grand lifestyle, but a consequence that arose from an intricate story of magnificence and splendor, disparity, misery, lastly the loss and tears of the weavers when the British ruined the local industry and chopped their fingers so that they could not weave Muslin anymore. The initiation of Muslin fabrics being commercially synthesized took place nearly two hundred years ago and these were woven from the best quality of cotton, which we now know as Phuti Karpas (Gossypium arboreum var neglecta). This genotype is unique to Bangladesh because of the soil and environment. No other genotype results in quite the same quality thread that can make the legendary Muslin.
Now, moving forward to the present, a research team consisting of ten members led by Dr. M. Monzur Hossain, Director of the Institute of Biological Sciences from Rajshahi University (RU) is attempting to recreate the same Phuti Karpas. The effort and research to revive the Muslin have been going on for six years, due to which six Muslin sarees have been manufactured too that were able to replicate the quality of the Muslin sarees exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum of London.
The journey was not that easy. This group traveled across the whole country to investigate the diversified cotton variants usually grown in Bangladesh to look for Muslin threads so that, they could collect the DNA sequences. They aimed to extract the DNA sequences from the fibers and conduct DNA sequencing to see if these matched with that of the Phuti Karpas plants. Afterward, several rounds of tracing led them to find a tree from Kapasia, Gazipur which was closely related to Phuti Karpas. In addition, the team kept hustling from Calcutta to Victoria and Albert Museum of London, which introduced them to a plethora of original Muslin fabrics from the eighteenth century.
Dr. M Monzur Hossain and his team proved that Muslin has vast potential as a clothing material to step up the branding game for Bangladesh once again in the billion-dollar global market after its commercial production. The DNA sequencing that the team conducted in the laboratory was instrumental in convincing all that this was the original Muslin which was fabled to be so soft that a saree made of it would pass through a ring after folding.
Besides sarees, fashionable garments made from Muslin have become both domestic and international magnets because of their finesse. Specialized weaving techniques are required to make Muslin and Dr. Monzur and his team found a descendent of the original weavers who had this know-how was engaged in making the Muslin cloth. Because of its expense, Muslin has become somewhat of a status symbol, owned by Bangladesh. However, it has become stylish to make applique designs, pockets, borders, and collars out of Muslin. So, Muslin has now become the symbol of elegance!
Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) is profoundly appreciative to Dr. M Monzur Hossain for his dedication to Science and Society. We honor Professor Monzur and his team for taking this initiative to bestow and restore our National pride and boon in the form of the famed Muslin for Bangladesh. Last but not the least, we hope that Muslin after its reincarnation becomes an inseparable part of the arc and symbolism of the young generation of Bangladeshis.
A tell of Strawberry variants initiating new horizons and hopes for farmers and youth
Professor Monzur Hossain is also the first person to introduce and establish strawberry research in Bangladesh. Afterward, he developed novel variants via tissue culture at his Botany Department’s Plant Breeding and Gene Engineering Laboratory. Back in 2003, the strawberry variants ‘RU-3’ and ‘Modern-3’ portrayed prominent results in terms of size, color, and flavor and each fruit weighed from twenty to twenty-five grams. According to him, producing cultivars of strawberries are very easy and convenient just like nurturing potatoes in a farm. At present, various NGOs are preparing samplings of strawberries.
Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) is one of the most delightful and nutritious accessories of a healthy diet. Not only, it is beneficial because of the low calories and glycemic index but also, the fruit provides multiple health benefits due to an abundance in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. In the food industry, strawberries are utilized in manufacturing ice-creams, jams, jellies, flavored candies, and biscuits. As a result, this application aids the youth to smartly eradicate poverty and unemployment as the farmers are receiving enormous profits by cultivating strawberries and are supplying the delicious products to numerous local markets.
The average price of a kilogram of strawberry ranges from 600 to 700 Taka, which indicates that, harvesting strawberries are exhibiting fruitful economic prospects, employment opportunities besides the skyrocketing commercial production and revenues and lastly better pathways of earning from inadequate land resources. The young generation might not have to leave their homes and rush to the urban jungles of the capital city to run their households. As a matter of fact, this nutritious fruit is not only showering health benefits on us but providing opportunities for the country to earn a significant number of foreign currencies. Professor Monzur also stated about how the large-scale production of strawberries might gradually ensure that common people can access the benefits of this fruit when the farming expands smoothly at the national level. Professor Monzur Hossain not only successfully amalgamated his innovative ideas and science to make Bangladeshi strawberries competitive in the market but also paved ways for the entire nation to thrive both home and abroad in multiple ways.