This Independence Day, celebrate the unsung artisans who are keeping Kashmir’s beautiful art alive

What do you think makes a significant part of a culture? Its people, their habits, their traditions and practices?

This Independence Day, let’s celebrate the unsung artisans from Kashmir who have been trying hard to keep their heritage and traditions alive.

40-60 percent of kashmir economy is based on art

Milaap salutes the entrepreneurial spirit of local artisans and craftsmen who have been the sole carriers of our cultural heritage”.

80 percent of households are attached to this work

This is because it is their art and Kashmir is blessed with many arts. Kashmiri artwork has been continued for over 600 years.

kashmir is like the crown of the world in terms of arts

Most of the people are involved in Aari work, weaving of shawls and carpet making.

Women also support their families. Fathers teach their daughters and daughters teach their kids. Kashmiri art is passed through generations.

most of the girls do this artwork

father taught their art

Kashmir yarn Dyeing Center has been in existence since 1854. Its owner, Rashid Ahmad along with his team starts working at 5 am every day. The entire process of dyeing yarns is carried out manually just how it was centuries ago. In the times where machinery has replaced many workers, Rashid still has people working for him. This is all because Rashid Ahmad wants to keep his ancestors’ tradition alive.

Rashid Ahmad

But the current situation in Kashmir is really bad. The huge flood that came the last year has destroyed the entire capital.

90% of the Srinagar was drowned in water.

All the finished products and yarns stocked in Srinagar were ruined. Now everyone is looking for funds to carry on with their usual lives.

factory destroyed in floods

People had incurred huge expenses to rebuild their factories and workshops. The stock ruined in the capital went wasted. All the hard work done by the artisans went wasted too. Some of the factories are still flooded with water.

water in the factories in kashmir

And this is not it, Kasmiri aari shawl weaver, Farooq Sheikh explains the difficulties of the artisans. The shawl weavers who earlier earned a Rs. 100 a day are still paid the same kind of wages. Artisans are forced to live a tough life. They are underpaid and that is why their survival is difficult and with that keeping the art alive is tough too.

aari shawl weaver

All these inspiring people and artisans are looking for nothing but support. They like to take their beautiful tradition and culture ahead and all they need is a helping hand.

This Independence Day, spend a little time to discover the spirit of Kashmir and lend them a helping hand.

To fund a local artisan go to: www.milaap.org/makeinindia

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