Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Saturday said risa, a traditional handwoven cloth used by the state’s indigenous communities, would soon get the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and become popular internationally.
In a post on his social media page, the chief minister wrote: “Risa will get GI tagging. Culture and tradition will get a new direction. GI tagging will be done to give international recognition to risa. The (state) government will submit necessary documents before the centre on this issue”.
জিআই ট্যাগিং পাবে রিসা
কৃষ্টি সংস্কৃতি পাবে নতুন দিশা
রিসাকে আন্তর্জাতিক পরিচিতি দেওয়ার লক্ষ্যে জিআই ট্যাগিং করানো হবে। আগামী জুন মাসের মধ্যে কেন্দ্রীয় সরকারের কাছে এই সম্পর্কিত প্রয়োজনীয় নথিপত্র জমা দেবে সরকার । pic.twitter.com/nOqMUzw1V3
— Biplab Kumar Deb (@BjpBiplab) May 6, 2022
The traditional Tripuri female attire comprises three parts — risa, rignai and rikutu. Risa is a handwoven cloth used as a female upper garment, and also as headgear, a stole, or a present to express respect. As an upper garment, it is wrapped around the torso twice. Rignai is primarily worn as the lower garment and literally translates into ‘to wear’. It can be understood as an indigenous variety of the sari of mainland India. Rituku is mainly used as a wrap, or like a ‘chunri’ or a ‘pallu’ of the Indian saree. It is also used to cover the heads of newly married Tripuri women.
These garments were traditionally handwoven. Handloom remains an integral part of the Tripuri household, even with the advent of powerloom-manufactured garments.
The complete Tripuri attire is claimed to have originated even before the time of the Manikya kings, who ruled Tripura for over 500 years starting from the 15th century. Although the history is contested, Maharaj Trilochana aka Subhrai Raja is said to have invented nearly 250 designs of rignai during his time for his 250 wives.
Tripura’s ruling alliance Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) has been promoting risa since they came to power in 2018, as a symbol of their commitment to empower tribals.
Chief Minister Deb has been sporting a risa on his shoulders ever since he started campaigning as a BJP ‘mahasampark abhiyan’ convener way back in 2015. These days, many of his party functionaries are seen wearing risa.
Woven in colourful designs and worn as an upper garment, risa also has a host of crucial, social and religious utilities. Adolescent Tripuri girls are first given a risa to wear in an event called Risa Sormani, at age 12 to 14.
The risa is used in religious festivals such as ‘garia puja‘ by tribal communities in many forms – a turban by men during weddings and festivals, a cummerbund over the dhoti, a head scarf by young girls and boys, and a muffler during winters. The cloth is also used as a makeshift hanger to hold an infant on the mother’s backs. And it is presented as a mark of honour to distinguished recipients. It is common in almost all 19 indigenous tribal communities of Tripura but each community has its own designs.