Sadam Hussain Pandow
Budgam, Dec 10: Over a few years back, Suhail Ahmad and his brother were sitting on the wooden slutt after hour’s long work in the room that they have kept particularly for shawl weaving work. In mid of relaxation they started discussing about the paltry returns over their work. The hour long discussion over low wages led them in a little bit contrary and gave them incubation of idea about to wind up the pashmina weaving job and forced them to find out better way of daily earnings, Suhail recalls.
Kashmir has become well-known for its diverse fetching artworks across the world and Kani shawl is one among them. These shawls are considered valuable and identical because of its handmade fetching artwork.
The art of making Kani shawl is totally different in its preparation and ingredients from machine woven shawls. Kani shawl weaving is a century old handicraft of Kashmir. Artisans use bobbins attached to different coloured threads to create the Kani Shawls according to the specific format and Pashmina Taleem. It is believed that Kanihama is the first origin where pashmina weaving art was common and later it gradually spread across the valley as of high demand.
The art of weaving Kani Shawl by using inelastic spinning threads of different hues takes a couple of months to weave a single Shawl. On that base, the shawl is very well-known for being its quality and design.
Suhail says, “Years back, me and my brother was weaving shawls heartily as of good earning but later consistent decline in wages compelled us to look for other alternatives.” He continues that he weaves shawls now only during winter season only as he prefer to stay in home during cold winter season and his brother has completely left this work.
Fayaz Ahmad another artisan and brother of national award winner Bashir Ahmad states the difference that he analysed in art pashmina weaving, “I am dealing with this noble art from last 10 years. Sine right from my beginning in this art I earned satisfactory from this work. But all is as of my hard work that seeded the new success for me, even for which one of my pashmina piece was selected for national award in 2010.” Besides this, he mentions, even at this time he is still working so hard with tooth and nail because of receiving national honorary award became a kind license for him to sellout their products in international market where they are earning more than domestic market but under limited tertiary.
He continues and supports common Pashmina weavers sayings that due to successive fall in prices at state level, high brokerage of middle men’s and marketing of machine shawls by labeling as original gleamed the image of Kashmiri Kani shawls and wreaked the outburst in this art that became upshot many artisans to felt unsatisfied and left this job.
No doubt government has erected many cluster centers for purpose of uplifting Shawl weavers but instead of encouraging pashmina weavers by providing them basic facilities, its officials indiscriminately submerged them in distraught by creating unnecessary impediments through providing fake registrations to people who even knows nothing about pashmina weaving which resulted nowadays they were selling machine woven Shawls at same prices as like pashmina shawls by befooling customers with making fake promises which became one of the serious cause in declining prices of Pashmina Shawls, alleged group of artisans and in addition, they stated state government totally failed in preserving this art and most of its concerned officers are working for their self-vested interests which forced them to evacuate this job.
Urging upon the state level government for facilitating interest free financial assistance, promote favorable market and look into the matter to reject illegal registrations of those locals who are not concerned with this work, they confided.
“Weaving Kani shawl takes at least three months in completion with the support of two persons on amount of Rupees forty thousand as wages for which both are entitled equally,” Bilal Ahmad(29) asserted. For simplifying it, he said that their monthly income from this profession is approximately rupees six thousand six hundred including all expenses, which hardly helps them for meeting their basic necessities of life.
A young well Experienced Pashmina Artisan namely Javaid Ahmad recalls his begging days when he was working as learner in this field, “Before two decades when I was a trainee of this craftsmanship, I still remember that the rate of small jam piece was at least fifty thousand to sixty thousand but unfortunately from past seven to eight years, the continuous fall in prices with due apathy of government and Machine weaved Shawls affected this noble profession badly.” Adding further he said, “Due availability of different choices and at lowest prices in market turned the attention of customers towards machine Shawls that became the serious cause for ravaging the vigor among Shawl weavers.