Srinagar, Oct 21: Instrumental in giving finish to the Kashmiri shawls the Purzgars (traditional artisans) are an important section among the stakeholders in the shawl manufacturing process.
Attributed as the fine craftsmanship, the Purzgars, with their unique touch and feel aspect to the Kashmiri shawls make them distinct across the globe.
Acknowledging their indispensability as a vital pillar of shawl industry, the Jammu and Kashmir government, has started registering the Purzgars and gave away their registration certificates on Thursday in an impressive function organized by the Handicrafts & Handloom Department Kashmir in association with Kashmir Pashmina Organization.
The registration certificates shall make the Purzgars eligible for various governmental schemes which include financial assistance under Artisan Credit Card, MUDRA Scheme and other related avenues.
“Purzgars are vital in achieving the completion of the shawls, especially the Pashmina. Once a shawl is taken from the loom, it’s the Purgars who finish it and finalize it. It is quite a craft and it requires skill,” said Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director Handicrafts and Handloom, Jammu and Kashmir, while speaking with Rising Kashmir.
Mr. Shah further added that it’s for the first time in the history of Shawl making in Kashmir that Purzgars are being formally recognized.
On the sidelines of the function, problems with regard to their wages, equipment and their working scenario were also discussed with the Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah.
The registering of Purzgars came in wake of the departmental outreach programme to register the artisans and stakeholders who have not been approached till now.
Earlier the registration of Hawkers (Pheriwalas) was also done on the same analogy.
“When I was approached by the Purzgars I felt that their role in Shawl making is equally important as the other artisans related to the shawl industry. So, I decided to accord them the same privileges as the others,” the Director Handicrafts and Handloom said.
The decision has been widely acknowledged and appreciated by various organizations including Kashmir Pashmina Karigar Union and Kashmir Pashmina Association as members from the associations were also part of the ceremony.
Speaking with Rising Kashmir, Babar Ahmad, an internationally recognized Pashmina artist and activist said, "Once the shawl is brought down from the loom, it is then sent to a Purzgar, who clips and brushes it to get rid of the flaws made during the weaving. The cloth is also scrubbed gently with the dried core of Kasher, a gourd known to make the surface smooth and remove any loose fibers.
“Purzgars are an important link to the whole process of Shawl-making. Surely, recognizing the Purzgar artisans would make a huge difference in their personal lives and would help the diminishing trade revive its former glory,” said Babar.