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Traditional grinding stones about to disappear, masons left jobless


Published : 10 Nov 2022 08:34 PM

Jaflong, a famous tourist spot in Sylhet, is full of natural beauty and also has a wealth of mineral resources. The artisans made grinding stone, also known as 'Shil Pata' very precisely to grind or powder the various spices that are used in cooking by cutting that stone.  At one time, the only easy way to grind spice was by pounding. Shil-pata was one of the ways of making spice in every house in rural society. Locally it is known as 'Pata-Putail'. With the addition and use of modern technology, this traditional grinding stone of rural Bengal is getting lost. Women of all classes and professions of the village used to apply Curcuma and henna two or three days before the marriage ceremony by singing songs. Moreover, on various social occasions, gourmet housewives used to make different types of spice. But with the passage of time, the use of Shil-Pata is disappearing from the family arena of the Bengali social system, the bearer, and bearer of tradition.

Sylhet's nature daughter Jaflong is full of natural beauty as well as mineral resources are also here. Even a few years ago, a lot of stones were lifted from Jaflong. But now stone lifting from Jaflong is completely stopped. So those involved with this business are having a hard time. Among them, machine-cut Shil-pata from India has taken over the market. With the evolution of time and the blessings of modern technology, people have gradually become machine-oriented. In this era, all kinds of spices were crushed or powdered with the help of different machines, and the use of Shil-Pata gradually decreased. The use of Shil-pata is not seen much except in remote areas. However, many people think that the spice made by Shil-pata is much tastier than the product sold by machine.

Some Shil-pata shops still survive in the Chandnighat area of Sylhet. Shil-Pata, an ancient spice-making machine, is made here through the skillful craftsmanship of artisans. During the making of Shil-pata, various designs are carved on them. These shil-pattas of Sylhet later went to different parts of the country for sale. Each Shil-pata price ranges from five hundred takas to two thousand takas.

People associated with Shil-pata said that earlier every family in every village in the country used to use it; but with the evolution of time, it is no longer the same as before. 

Besides, earlier, large quantities of stone were available from Jaflong, but now, as stone mining has stopped, India's machine-cut stone Shil-pata has taken over the market. But not as durable as Shil Pata of Sylhet.

Many artisans were forced to change professions due to the decline in the use of shil-putra. But many artisans, despite the decrease in income, have overcome many obstacles and held on to the tradition of their fathers and grandfathers. However, the conscious community should come forward to protect this ancient Shil-pata industry. Otherwise, this ancient family used Shil-pata will be lost