“Craft Safari” series, which was launched by the local administration last year to revitalise the handicraft industry, is fully operational and prospering.
The “Craft Safari” series which was started by the administration here last year to revive the handicraft sector is kicking and thriving with full progress. At a time when Handicraft Sector was suffering huge losses for the past 3 decades, the Government decided to undertake this initiative to help local artisans. Governemnt started a Unique Programme ‘Craft Safari tour’ in 2021 for the overall promotion of the handicraft sector, officials said, adding that, from day one, the department of the handicraft sector is getting a positive response.
Under the Supervision of the Director Handicraft Kashmir, Officials paid weekly visits to different workshops and residential Houses to check and listen to their grievances. Mehmood Shah, Director of Handicrafts Kashmir told ANI, “We started this initiative in December 2021. We have received a positive response this year so far. Tourists expressed their desire to visit Craft Tour. Every week 4-5 groups of officials visit and get feedback about the work of artisans. Seeing a positive response, We have decided to expand our work”.
Shah further said they have also started the process of registration in order to ensure not a single artisan is left out. Artisans engaged in Carpet weaving, Wood carving, Shawl making, Paper mache, Copper Work, Embroidery work, Silver Work, Crewel Work and other things said they have a lot of expectations from the government.
“This is a very good step taken by the government. But this initiative should be continued. If this initiative is stopped midway, then we will remain in the same situation. It is not easy to learn this trade. Nowadays, Everyone wants to have money. but nobody is ready to work. One will have to take time to get mastery over this trade,” Munir Ahmad an artisan said to ANI.
Speaking to ANI, Mariyam, A PhD Scholar at Kashmir University said, “I appreciate the Department of Handlooms and Handicrafts for conducting such a meaningful event, like the Craft Safari. We all participated in Craft Safari and learned a lot of things. Artisans of Kashmir are famous all over the world. We wanted to know about the whole process. we wanted to know about the problems faced by artisans who are in this trade”.
Artisans expressed hope their problems will be addressed under this initiative. Tariq Mir, another Artisan said, “It is a very good initiative. Artisans will get a lot of benefits. Artisans will get inspiration when they look around to see that Government is standing with them. My Job is ‘Kani’ Weaving. We make Kani Shawls. Gents Shawal. Whether it is wood craving or Kani, it is an old practise”.
“It is a very good initiative. It will be a blessing for us if officials took out and showcase our work to clients. Such events should be held more and more. So that every artisan gets a chance to show his talent in handicrafts,” Farooq Bhat Artisan a local artisan said.
Under the “craft safari tour” artisans directly interact with heads of different departments including handicrafts and handlooms, the Indian institute of carpet technology (IICT) and discuss many things related to handicrafts.
“Handicraft sector has historical importance and is related to our rich past. So it’s a good initiative taken by govt for the promotion of Kashmir art, for uplifting local artisans and more importantly, we are getting knowledge about different kinds of unique and rare artwork which we had never seen before this said,” one student said.