Waragam - the village that preserves traditional sozni skull caps
Post by ARIF RASHID on Saturday, January 7, 2023
Budgam, Jan 06: The sozni artisans from Waragam village in central Kashmir's Budgam district are on a mission to preserve the traditional sozni work embedded skull caps, which otherwise is considered out of fashion nowadays.
"Waragam village is the only place in the Kashmir valley where these traditional skull caps are being prepared from the last 200 years. The people in our village are earning their livelihood from this art," said Haji Muhammad Safdar Lone, one of the traditional skull cap artisans from the Waragam village who has been associated with art for the last 20 years.
During the old days, the artisans would teach the skill to their children so that they earn their livelihood. Lone learned this skill from his father, who was a well-known artisan.
"A decade back, the demand for these traditional skull caps was high in the markets. However, after the change in lifestyle, the demand for these caps has decreased in the markets. Now the people prefer to buy fashionable caps, which are easily available in the markets across Kashmir," Lone said.
Nowadays, the young generation do not prefer to carryon the skill of cap making as it takes lot of time and efforts to prepare a single skull cap.
"This art has its own importance in the Kashmir valley, which we have learned from our ancestors. Despite facing lot of financial difficulties in our lives, we did not leave this art," he added.
Another artisan from the Waragam, Ali Muhammad Mir said the traditional skull caps that elderly Kashmiri people wear, especially in the villages, is the identity of Kashmir through which Kashmiri people are identified across the world. This skull cap in Kashmir represents honour and dignity, he believes.
While going into the technicalities of traditional sozni skull caps, he said, "We prepare various types of the traditional skull caps in the ten designs. These designs have their own market demand, and elderly people prefer to wear these caps in these designs only."
He said that the cap costs between Rs 2,000 and Rs 15,000. “The cap in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 6,000 can be prepared within two months. However, the caps, which cost Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000, can be prepared within four to six months,” Mir said adding, these caps are prepared on order.
The persons who plan to go for Hajj and Umrah also buy these caps from us, he said.
In order to revive this art, Mir believes that government should take necessary steps and include the art under any government scheme.