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  #1  
Old August 12, 2012, 03:01 PM
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Default India wants rights to Jamdani, Naksi kantha, and fazli mango under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement

Haaaa India. Chance paile haat diye boisha pore!! Raise some awareness folks.

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Jamdani, nakshi kantha and et al!


Ashfaqur Rahman

For sometime now, we have been told that three items which are very dear to every Bangladeshi have been registered by India as its own products. They are the famous jamdani sari, the exquisite nakshi kantha and last but not the least, the delicious fazli mango.

India has opened a register of what is known as Geographical Indicator (GI) of its products. Every member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which abides by the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement is required to do this. Under Sections 22, 23 and 24 of this Agreement, individual countries have now the right to protect and patent famous, exceptional and extraordinary products originating within the geographical territory of the country, under the GI Act 1999.

India has thus registered (uppada) jamdani sari as originating from Andhra Pradesh, the nakshi kantha from West Bengal and fazli mango from Malda district in West Bengal.

The GI helps producers differentiate their unique products from similar competing products. It enables their producers to build a reputation around such products so that they can fetch a premium price. So far India has listed 158 products in its registry located in Chennai.

Let us first consider jamdani, a handloom product. About 300 A.D. Kautilya, in his book Artha shastra, referred to this fine cloth and said it was made in Pundra (now Bangladesh). Arab, Chinese and Italian traders had also given detailed account of this fabric coming from what is now Bangladesh. Around that time a similar fabric was made in Mosul, Iraq, called Mousoulin. The Arab geographer Sulaiman mentions that Mousoulin fabric was developed simultaneously in Bengal and was called muslin. In his well known book Sril Silat-ut-Tawarikh he wrote jamdani design was stitched on muslin fabric in Rumy, which is the ancient name of Bangladesh.

When the Morrocan traveler Ibn Batuta visited Bangladesh in the 14th century he also saw the jamdani made here and praised its quality. An English traveler, Ralph Finch, also spoke highly about muslin and jamdani made in Sonargoan, near Dhaka. The fabric, however, attained its zenith during the reign of Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor. It had by then become such a sought after item that the British East India Company who came in later had to post a high official in Dhaka to buy mulmul khas. He was called the "Daroga-Mulmul." He was commissioned to also supervise the production of jamdani in each weaving factory.

The word jamdani is Persian, where "jam" means cup and "dani" means flower vase. Thus jamdani designs depict arrangement of flowers sewn with fine threads on muslin. When the surface of the muslin fabric is sewn with diagonally striped floral sprays, the jamdani is popularly known as "Terchha." The most exquisite design is "Panna Hazaar" (a thousand emeralds), where the floral pattern is highlighted with gold and silver threads. There are other coveted designs such as the "Kalka" and "Phulwar." The peculiarity of jamdani is the geometric design. The weavers do not draw the design before hand on paper. They work on the design from their memory, and express their creative genius.

Through registration of jamdani sari as an Indian product, the glorious history and the unique creativity of the Bangladeshi weavers have been ignored and in some ways belittled. Unlike a trademark, which can be owned individually or by a group of people, the GI gives the product a collective right owned by a concerned community. Trademarks are usually transferable or can be assigned to another right holder. But GI rights are perpetual collective rights. In theory, India, by holding the patent to jamdani sari is able to increase sales of the item and get higher income. To an outsider, a Dhaka jamdani could very well fetch lower price, as the uppada jamdani from Andhra has the GI registration. Uppada jamdani has only a 300 year old history behind it. At best it is a special type of jamdani sari.

Now let us take the case of the nakshi kantha, another exclusive Bangladeshi product. Poet Jasimuddin wrote his famous "Nakshi Kanthar Math" in 1929. Through this poem, the art form that had originated in the villages of Bangladesh became known to the world for the first time. The kantha is made out of old saris, lungis and dhotis. At least 5-7 saris usually make a standard size kantha or quilt. They are sewn together to attain the size and the layers required. The needle and thread is used to outline a design followed by focal points. The filling motif is then worked on. The designs are usually flowers, undulating vines, images of birds and fish, animals, etc. No two are the same. Each nakshi kantha is unique and often tells a tale. Nakshi kantha is quintessentially Bangladeshi.

The third product registered by India under the GI Act is the fazli mango. The Indians consider this mango variety as being indigenous to Bihar and West Bengal. It is a late maturing (August) fruit and is large with firm to soft flesh. The flavor is pleasant and the pulp is sweet and fibreless. Its keeping quality is good. But what about Bangladeshi Fazli mangos?

In our national anthem, penned by no other than poet Rabindranath Tagore, the beauty of Sonar (Golden) Bangla is described when he writes: "In Falgun (March) your mango gardens spread maddening aroma." Mango is, therefore, in the mind of every Bangladeshi. It occupies a special place in our food, literature and culture. The best variety of mango grown here is the fazli, which is grown in the Rajshahi region. But it is grown mainly for domestic consumption. There are virtually no exports. The world, therefore, is unaware that we are a producer of this mouth-watering variety. Due to asymmetric information, India could have taken advantage and registered it as their GI.

It is time that our ministries of industries, agriculture and commerce, separately and together, under the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office, start identifying products that originate in Bangladesh and which need to be urgently registered under the GI Act. But in order to do that, we need to first enact a GI protection law and frame rules under it. We then need to open a registry to inscribe items that are to be protected. So far as we know, a law has been drafted and has been under discussion for the last seven years. The draft outlines how these products need to be protected against any malfeasance by our own traders. It does not outline how we can protect these products from foreign claimants. GI law in Malaysia, Singapore and India incorporates all these provisions.

It is imperative however that we identify now some of the products which we could call as our own. Some of them that could find a place in our registry is the jamdani sari of Dhaka, the naskhi kantha from Faridpur, Monipuri clothes, khadi of Comilla, hilsa fish from Chandpur, the fazli mango of Rajshahi, curd of Bogra, dogs from Sarail in Brahmanbaria as well as honey from our Sunderban forest.

We have to move fast in our effort to prevent some other country from listing our unique products and calling them their own. Any affirmative action by our government in such matters will therefore be welcome. Coleridge had once said: "Silence does not always mark wisdom." We must heed his advice in this case.

The writer is a former Ambassador and a regular commentator on contemporary issues.

E-mail: ashfaque303@gmail.com
Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesig...php?nid=245754
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  #2  
Old August 12, 2012, 05:36 PM
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Who cares when you don't have water and your farmlands are razed to make roads for them? Much ado about little...
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  #3  
Old August 12, 2012, 05:43 PM
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This is NOT a huge ado about nothing. There are huge financial and trading implications. Consider why France so religiously ensured that only sparkly wines from the Champagne area can be called champagne and why India so religiously went after the Texas long grain rice growers so that they could not call the grain Basmati (it's called Texmati now).
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  #4  
Old August 12, 2012, 06:30 PM
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I have little faith in Bangladesh government's present and future administrative capabilities to deal with anything. Bangladesh will continue to spiral increasingly from being the current hugely mismanaged country to a massively mismanaged cesspit in which paramecia would fear to fester.

Look no further than our public servants to realise this! Government institutions probably would no longer know how to wipe their own a$$es without the right interest group filling their pockets first!

Jamdani, fazli am and nakshi katha are the 'first' of many victims. I cant picture Dr. Kamal Hossain to be brought to represent us at the WTO arbitrations/tribunals over and over again for these things. There's just too much menacing politics and interest groups at play these days.
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  #5  
Old August 12, 2012, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
This is NOT a huge ado about nothing. There are huge financial and trading implications. Consider why France so religiously ensured that only sparkly wines from the Champagne area can be called champagne and why India so religiously went after the Texas long grain rice growers so that they could not call the grain Basmati (it's called Texmati now).
I did say much ado about "little" because I knew someone would post the above. The way I look at it, if we [the collective we] don't mind handing over the keys to the house, sounds funny to whine about the way they've rearranged the furniture in the living room! Much ado about very little. Also Doc, I've heard of champagne, I've heard of basmati...but I've never heard of any of those 3 things except the sari and only because my mom loves saris.
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  #6  
Old August 12, 2012, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
I did say much ado about "little" because I knew someone would post the above. The way I look at it, if we [the collective we] don't mind handing over the keys to the house, sounds funny to whine about the way they've rearranged the furniture in the living room! Much ado about very little.
Bad analogy. The one's complaining about the furniture are not the ones who gave away the key.
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  #7  
Old August 12, 2012, 07:44 PM
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"key"? "furniture"? Al can we for once stop talking in riddles. They've basically claimed the furniture as theirs and taken it away here! How's that even rearranging?

And it wasnt so much handing them the key, as much as leaving the door unlocked. We didnt actively hand over our rights to the 3 things. We're just too inept to hang on to them or claim them as ours.

key word: inept

p.s: Yeah we're going to bitch and whine that the neighbours stole the furniture and claimed it as theres - I think we have a right to. Then what?
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
Bad analogy. The one's complaining about the furniture are not the ones who gave away the key.
True, but as my dad always says "Life is not fair."
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  #9  
Old August 12, 2012, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
True, but as my dad always says "Life is not fair."
And so you sit on your a$$ and just take it?
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  #10  
Old August 12, 2012, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammark
"key"? "furniture"? Al can we for once stop talking in riddles. They've basically claimed the furniture as theirs and taken it away here! How's that even rearranging?

And it wasnt so much handing them the key, as much as leaving the door unlocked. We didnt actively hand over our rights to the 3 things. We're just too inept to hang on to them or claim them as ours.

key word: inept
All I'm saying is that there are bigger issues that effect millions of lives and consequently hundreds of millions of dollars and those get ignored. How big are those 3 things by comparison? Its like focusing on T20 cricket and ignoring the longer version...oh wait, we do that too...nevermind, carry on!
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
And so you sit on your a$$ and just take it?
The only thing anyone can do, and has ever done.
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:51 PM
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Good awareness. And at first read, seems like a well written article. Agree with OP.
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
All I'm saying is that there are bigger issues that effect millions of lives and consequently hundreds of millions of dollars and those get ignored. How big are those 3 things by comparison?
Big enough. Every summer enough poor farmers in the north, and associated tradesmen rely on Fazli Aam for a fat lot of bucks.

Same for Jamdani Sharis, except that the modern Bengali female with disposable income is increasingly dispensated to salwar kameez and silk saris/ hijabi type jhobbas.

Regardless... Government Officers and their ilk are inept and outright incompetent to manage anything about national interest. I wouldnt so much cry about spilt milk, versus the buffoons who do the spilling.
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Old August 12, 2012, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammark
Big enough. Every summer enough poor farmers in the north, and associated tradesmen rely on Fazli Aam for a fat lot of bucks.

Same for Jamdani Sharis, except that the modern Bengali female with disposable income is increasingly dispensated to salwar kameez and silk saris/ hijabi type jhobbas.

Regardless... Government Officers and their ilk are inept and outright incompetent to manage anything about national interest. I wouldnt so much cry about spilt milk, versus the buffoons who do the spilling.
Let me rephrase...what % of the revenue comes from exports - since thats what this "copyright" would effect. Presumably domestic consumption of magos, saris, and the third thing will be unchanged regardless of whether India patents them as her own or not. I would assume, that export revenues would make a small part of Bangladesh's overall GDP and that far bigger fish (water/transport issues with India) are already being or have been fried.

Government might be inept, but ultimately people are responsible for their own conditions. Bill Maher said it quite well in regards to the poor conservatives in the US when he asked "I understand why the 1% are Republicans but the other 49% are basically like a person who wakes up in the middle of the night and sees burglars robbing his house and says 'Gee, that looks heavy, let me give you hand.'"

Who will be Bangladesh's Mohamed Bouazizi?
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Old August 13, 2012, 07:13 AM
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This is pretty sick actually. What's next Muslin and Chomchom?
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Old August 13, 2012, 08:45 AM
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They can have hadudu
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  #17  
Old August 13, 2012, 09:15 AM
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This is outrageous. We can't let go of our heritage like this. Gov't should do something about it.
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  #18  
Old August 13, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
Let me rephrase...what % of the revenue comes from exports - since thats what this "copyright" would effect. Presumably domestic consumption of magos, saris, and the third thing will be unchanged regardless of whether India patents them as her own or not.
The part in bold isn't entirely true. Due to these rights, you are basically NOT entitled to use the names for the products unless it's accredited by the nation owning the right. I've heard of arrangements from as silly as "you cannot use this term, period" to "every time you use this term, you pay us".

And if it doesn't have any impact on revenue, why would india be after it? It may not have a huge export number associated to it today, but who are you and I to say that won't change for the better in future?

Remember that things like nakshi kantha and jamdani have are art works, not your everyday dollar store stuff with $hit quality that the chinese excel in.

And honestly man...just because you haven't heard of jamdani shari doesn't mean we should all forget about it. There are many things I haven't heard of in this world...but there are people who are happy to give their lives for it.
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Old August 13, 2012, 11:10 AM
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India has already taken our lands, Sundarban, Water...now Jamdani, Nakshi...even Fazli Aam !!
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Old August 13, 2012, 11:23 AM
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Why blame India? What have we done to defy? India is just having a good time with us and our incompetent, clumsy, futile government is making sure to maintain our good host reputation.
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Old August 13, 2012, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roman
Why blame India? What have we done to defy? India is just having a good time with us and our incompetent, clumsy, futile government is making sure to maintain our good host reputation.
True that.

But I am not sure whether our Govt has even any idea about it or not, let alone doing something about it.
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  #22  
Old August 13, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Its funny how those who steal accuse others of stealing. In the recent past, including one that happened just today; I have seen or heard an Indian falsely accusing a Bangladeshi of theft;

In this case we gave a Deshi cleaner woman some clothes and her Indian supervisor accused her of stealing them, and even said "we all know Bangalis have a bad habit of stealing", i cant wait to give this "supervisor" a piece of our mind tomorrow.
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  #23  
Old August 13, 2012, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabir
The part in bold isn't entirely true. Due to these rights, you are basically NOT entitled to use the names for the products unless it's accredited by the nation owning the right. I've heard of arrangements from as silly as "you cannot use this term, period" to "every time you use this term, you pay us".

And if it doesn't have any impact on revenue, why would india be after it? It may not have a huge export number associated to it today, but who are you and I to say that won't change for the better in future?

Remember that things like nakshi kantha and jamdani have are art works, not your everyday dollar store stuff with $hit quality that the chinese excel in.

And honestly man...just because you haven't heard of jamdani shari doesn't mean we should all forget about it. There are many things I haven't heard of in this world...but there are people who are happy to give their lives for it.
Kabir bhai, I'm not downplaying the significance of this issue...stealing even a penny is just as wrong as stealing thousands from a bank vault. Everyone knows that.

What I am asking is where the outrage when we don't BASIC things which affect negatively - possibly kill - TENS OF MILLIONS of folks. Are a few crores in patent rights more valuable than the lives of millions? Of course the reverse-razakars are applauding right now with their silence, but what about the others? Why do we celebrate such misplacement of priorities?

You know we criticize Ashraful all the time, all the while forgetting that as a country and as a constituency Bangladeshis as a whole aren't even on that level. Sir at least talks the right talk. Bangladeshis aren't even at that level, they're still in Aftab level: out.of.the.game.

At least I can say I'm an American.
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  #24  
Old August 13, 2012, 03:48 PM
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India wants the right but did they already get the rights? What can the government and the people do to stop such a move? Is the government willing to give them the rights?
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  #25  
Old August 13, 2012, 05:26 PM
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May be unlike Kabir, Asaad is not the type to wear jamdani sharee with naksi kantha boutique fez eating fazli aam during summer?
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