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Meet Abdul Rashid Kumar who claims 'Koand' bricks are 'low-cost, stronger' than ones made in kilns

Post by ARIF RASHID on Tuesday, November 8, 2022

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Budgam, Nov 7: Abdul Rashid Kumar, 55, a resident of Batwodder Surasyar village in central Kashmir's Budgam district, is preserving the tradition of making bricks using primitive methods. 
He is making these bricks in a traditional kiln locally called ‘Koand’. The ‘Koand’ bricks, as per Kumar, are comparatively stronger than modern brick kilns. But he is selling these bricks for a discount in his village. These bricks are like hotcakes, and most of the village houses have been built with them. 
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Kumar said he learned this skill from his father late Abdul Rehman Kumar who was an expert in making traditional bricks in the village. “For the last 35 years, I have been doing this work on my own land at home,” he said.
“I am selling one vehicle of ‘Koand’ bricks for Rs 16,000 which is a very low cost as compared to the present market rate. People from the village prefer these bricks. Even I have constructed my own house on these bricks,” he said. 
Abdul Rashid said ‘Koand’ is an old tradition in Kashmir. He added, “In the past when someone planned to construct a house, they used to prepare these traditional bricks at their homes as there was no such concept as brick kilns in the valley. Now, people have forgotten this tradition, even in villages. This has become a dying art.”
Kumar wants this “art” to be transferred to the younger generation who “can also earn their livelihoods through it”. “As my father wished to preserve this art in the family, I carried it forward. I am also teaching this skill to my children,” he said.
Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, a local resident in the Batwodder village, said that Abdul Rashid Kumar “provides bricks to poor families for Rs 14, 000”. “Out is a remote village where most of the people cannot afford to spend a huge amount of money to buy bricks from kilns. Nearly 60 percent of the houses here have been built with ‘Koand’ bricks,” Lone said. 
Locals have urged the government to provide Kumar with firewood at a subsidy rate so that he can also provide employment to other people in the village in his work.

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