<p>Besides its breathtaking landscape, Kashmir is also known the world over for its rich arts and crafts. Unfortunately, over the years, some unscrupulous people have brought bad name to Kashmir handicrafts. The growing availability of cheap imitations of
Post by on Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Besides its breathtaking landscape, Kashmir is also known the world over for its rich arts and crafts. Unfortunately, over the years, some unscrupulous people have brought bad name to Kashmir handicrafts. The growing availability of cheap imitations of Pashmina shawls has put the future of original Pashmina shawls at stake. The cheap and machine-made shawls have severely affected the demand and sales of original pieces. Several initiatives have been taken to check the deceitful practices. Previous governments also launched Kashmir Pashmina GI (Geographical Indication) mark to be imprinted in the form of label on every hand woven Kashmiri Pashmina Shawl. And the government has also earlier inaugurated the Testing and Quality Certification Centre at Craft Development Centre which would help replace spurious Pashmina shawls by Kashmir patent hand woven original Pashmina shawls. The label will be attached to each hand woven Kashmiri Pashmina shawl after testing the originality of fabric, fineness of thread, spinning method and weaving technology. The government has already obtained geographical indication for six handicrafts and all these would be provided similar testing facilities and geographical indication marks so that their marketing in the national and International market receive considerable fillip. Multi-pronged efforts are needed for restoration of the handicrafts glory of the Valley and remove all fake handicrafts being sold in the name of brand Kashmir. There is a need to replace all fake Pashmina shawls from the market. This will be possible only when a customer is able to easily differentiate the fake shawls from original Kashmiri Pashmina. There is a need to reclaim the confidence and trust about the genuineness of Kashmir Pashmina shawls. Besides, Craft Development Centre needs to undertake research and development work for expansion and growth of Pashmina industry. The artisans are most under paid class in any handicrafts and there is desperate need to look into their plight and upgrade their pay skill otherwise in near future no one will be interested in the craft. They should be paid according to their work. There is a dire need for ensuring substantial remuneration to the weavers. The successive governments have been holding fairs and exhibitions to promote ‘brand Kashmir’ in India as well as outside the country. The good response to Kashmiri handcraft stalls meant that the concerned departments went basking in self-praise paying little heed to the concerns over the threat posed by fake Kashmiri handicrafts. Promotion and protection should go hand-in-hand. The authorities cannot be complacent about the long-term dangers facing our handicrafts. However, government cannot be expected to bring change on its own. All the stakeholders including artisans, traders and exporters need to safeguard the reputation of ‘brand Kashmir’.