One of the most often repeated stories about the British rule is how its officials cut off the thumbs of the Muslin weavers to wipe out the competition to their machine-made cloth. Dhaka’s muslin or ‘Dhake ka Malmal’ was so fine that an entire sari could pass through a ring, and the British did not want it to stand in their way of making profits in the textile industry.
‘A hundred yards of it can pass through the eye of the needle, so fine is its texture, and yet the point of the steel needle can’t pierce through it easily. It is so transparent and light that it looks as if one is in no dress at all but has only smeared the body with pure water.’
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