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Kashmir handicraft artisans bag 2 Shilp Guru, 6 National awards

Post by ARIF RASHID on Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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New Delhi, Nov 29: Handicraft artisans from Kashmir have brought laurels to the valley by bagging two Shilp Guru and six National awards in different craft categories.
The Shilp Guru awards are given to legendary master craftspersons in recognition of excellent craftsmanship, product excellence and the role played by them as gurus in the continuance of crafts to other trainee artisans as a vital part of traditional heritage. The awards were started in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the resurgence of Handicrafts in India. It consists of a gold coin, Rs 2 lakh prize money, a Tamrapatra, a shawl and a certificate.
The National Award is being given since 1965 for outstanding craftsmanship in different craft categories. The award consists of Rs 1 lakh prize money, a Tamrapatra, a shawl and a certificate.
The Shilp Guru awards were conferred by Vice President, Jagdeep Dhankhar while the National Awards were conferred by the Union Minister of Textiles, Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal at Vigyan Bhawan here. The award categories were announced for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 amidst an august gathering that included officers from the office of Development Commissioner Handicrafts.
Addressing a gathering after presenting Shilp Guru and National Awards, the Vice President said, “The unique talent of our master craftsmen is representative of Bharat. With your subtle workmanship, you embellish and enrich India’s cultural diversity. You represent India's rich tradition of skills and craftsmanship.”
Dhankhar described Indian craftsmen as “the impactful ambassadors of our culture and creativity” and said that by honouring them, the nation is honouring those generations of unknown skilled craftsmen, who have left behind such a rich legacy.
While congratulating the prize winners, he assured the country’s artisan community of all possible support. He stressed preserving this unique skill which he said is responsible for the production of world-famous handicraft products.
The awards were given in different categories that included Sozni, Paper Machie and Carpet.
Bashir Ahmad Bhat of Sonpah Beerwah and Iqbal Hussain Khan of Gazi Doori were awarded Shilp Guru awards for the years 2018 and 2019 in the Jamawar Shawl craft and Paper Machie respectively.
Similarly, the National awards were conferred upon Muzaffar Hussain Khushoo of Kathi Maidan Srinagar (Paper Machie, 2019), Zahoor Ahmad Bhat of Shalla Bagh Zadibal (Sozni Embroidery, 2019), Safdar Ali Mir of Sonpah Beerawah ( Sozni Embroidery, 2018), Parveza Bano of Kathi Maidan Alamgari Bazar (Sozni Embroidery, 2018), Akthar Hussain Rather of Hawal Kral Pora(Paper Machie, 2017) and Ghulam Ali Sheikh of Shahoo Sachan Kulgam(Hand Knotted Carpet, Double Sided,2017). Rachna Shah, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Shantmanu, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, awardees from across India and other dignitaries were also present. 
Meanwhile, Director Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, has extended his greetings to the awardees. “The department is aware of the creative talent that is available in Sonpah village of district Budgam. A DPR for developing the village as the ‘craft village’ has been prepared and submitted to the Government of India” he said.
‘Need to preserve this traditional art’
Budgam, Nov 29: Two Sozni artisans from the Sonpah village of Beerwah tehsil in central Kashmir’s Budgam district received the Shilp Guru and National Award for their work from Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar.
While the 57-year-old Bashir Ahmad Bhat, son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, received the Shilp Guru Award; Safdar Ali Mir, 35, son of Mohammad Jaffar Mir, was honoured with the National Award. Both artisans hail from Sonpah village of Beerwah. 
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Bashir said he received the National Award for Sozni work in 2005. “In 2011, I received an appreciation certificate from the ambassador of Tehran. In 2016, I participated in the ten-day Brics handicraft artisans exchange programme, which was held at the India Institute of Craft and Design (IICD) in Jaipur. Artisans from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa participated in this programme,” he said.
Bashir said he has been associated with the Sozni work for the last 45 years. “Most of the people in our village earn their livelihood through this art. My brothers and children are also associated with Sozni work,” he said.
Another artisan Safdar Mir, who received National Award, is in this craft for the last 25 years. “He (Safdar) also belongs to our village and has made significant contributions to this art,” Bashir said. 
Bhat said nothing is difficult in life if a person is willing to work hard. “Today I received this award; tomorrow another artisan from Kashmir will receive it. I have trained hundreds of unemployed youths, including boys and girls, in various villages of Beerwah who are now earning a good income from this art,” he said. “It is our responsibility to preserve this traditional Kashmiri art. It should be transferred to the new generation as many people believe this art is dying.” 

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