The famous Dhaka muslin fabric that was once highly favoured by royal personalities of Indian history such as Empress Nur Jahan and also European royals of that time is being revived in Bangladesh. Even though muslin is available now, its quality is not as fine as it was in the past. It is the old variety of Dhaka muslin that is being sought to be resurrected and popularised in the international markets. The manufacturers are also trying to make it more durable to suit modern day requirements. Nur Jahan According to a report in Al Jazeera, weavers in Bangladesh are painstakingly recreating the fabric which was once worn by Mughal emperors, kings and queens of Europe and many well known celebrities. In fact there still exists a dress made of Dhaka muslin that once belonged to Jane Austen, the famous author of the novel Pride And Prejudice published in 1813. The old variety of Dhaka muslin was said to have been so fine and delicate that a whole six-meter sari could be folded up and placed within a match box. The Dhaka muslin manufacturing industry was at its peak in the 17th and 18th centuries before the East India Company managed to stamp it out for business purposes. The company imported and sold British produced cloth in the Indian market and initiated several policies to suppress the Indian weavers. As a result, muslin production declined dramatically and eventually died out. The word muslin comes from Mosul in Iraq where it was originally manufactured. The traveller Marco Polo who was born in Venice (Italy) in 1254 and travelled all over Asia, has mentioned this in his writings. Later the weavers located it in and around Dhaka, became world renowned manufacturers of this fabric. It was made in different categories ranging from delicate sheer fabric to coarse sheets meant for rough use. There are many stories about this fabric. One such story is that on one occasion Emperor Aurangzeb was displeased with a daughter when he found that her skin could be seen through her clothes after she wore a dress made from very delicate muslin cloth. She argued with her father that she was wearing seven layers of cloth and she couldn't help it if it was still insufficient to cover herself. It was not her fault. The document Ain-i-Akbari which was written by Abul Fazl ibn Mubarak during the reign of Emperor Akbar, mentions different varieties of muslin that were in use then. These included Khasa, Tansukh, Nainsukh and Chauter (sometimes also written as Chaotaer) which was referred to as Shahi Mulmul. The Chinese voyager Ma Huan wrote about its delicate quality. It was said to be as light and thin as paper and as soft as a breeze. The Mughal emperors, especially Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan took great interest in the manufacturing industries of their domain. These included textile manufacturing which received their patronage. It has been recorded that during the time of Akbar, eleven thousand tailors were employed for the supply of household goods. Later, the Empress Nur Jahan directly controlled a few karkhanas (factories). It is said that her favorite variety was Malboos Khas. An officer used to be appointed with the designation of Darogah-i-Malboos Khas whose duty it was to oversee the production of this superb fabric. There were exclusive karkhanas for the royal families, such as the karkhanas at Sonargaon in Bengal (now in Bangladesh) which produced the Malboos Khas variety (a superior mulmul cloth reserved for the aristocracy and the members of the royal family). Other centers which were well known at the time were Teetbadi and Kapasia. During the Mughal period of Indian history, other nobles also controlled these textile karkhanas. Mughal clothing was stitched in these karkhanas from exclusively selected fabric, for instance, silk interwoven with gold and silver. The Ain-i-Akbari mentions various cloths with zari work and embroidery from Gujarat and Bengal. Bangladesh has again become a world textile hub. It is home to countless factories and supplies garments, bags and accessories to huge brands such as Walmart, H & M and other international outlets. Now Dhaka muslin is being promoted too. According to one weaver, working with the fine threads is like saying prayers. One has to concentrate completely and drive away all other thoughts from one's mind. The Bangladesh government is making wholehearted efforts to recreate the old quality of Dhaka muslin. The plan is to restore this fabric to its past glory. If the move succeeds, the world will once again know about the tastes and dress sense of India's great rulers.