Kashmir’s famous Kani Pashmina shawls: 1.25 lakh shawls, artisans get only Rs 250 per day; PM Modi also fond of wearing it

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  • Prime Minister Modi also wears it, it is difficult to feed the artisans who prepare the shawls

Srinagar4 hours ago

PM Modi withdrew the Agriculture Act on 19 November. The cashmere kani pashmina shawl she wore during this time is said to be worth Rs 1.25 lakh. It took 6 months to weave it. PM Modi is fond of shawls. He is seen wearing expensive shawls, jackets and watches on many occasions. Kani Shawl is kept as a collection in big museums around the world. These include the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Islamic Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

To know more about the Kani Pashmina shawls, Dainik Bhaskar’s Mudassar Kullu visited Kanihama village in Kashmir’s Budgam district. This village is known for making Kani shawls.

Fayaz Ahmed Wani lives in Kanihama village of Budgam district. Wani, 42, has been weaving Kani Pashmina Shawls for the last 20 years. But despite doing such a great job, they are facing their own troubles. Wani says that he earns only Rs 250 a day for weaving shawls. There are 5 people in Vani’s family and it is very difficult to feed her in this earning.

Artisans weaving in a shawl factory

Artisans weaving in a shawl factory

15 years ago, he used to get a remuneration of 80 thousand rupees for weaving shawls for 6 months. Now only 30 thousand rupees are available. Wani says- I regret that I chose this profession. There are a lot of middlemen in this. These people earn a lot of money and we get nothing compared to them.

The condition of Abdul Rashid of Kanihama is also similar to that of Wani. Rashid, a father of two children, has been doing shawl weaving for the last 30 years. Rashid is also struggling to feed his family. Even after knowing how to make kani shawls for the last 30 years, he earns only Rs 250 for working 10 hours a day.

Challenge of returning loan on artisans
Rashid says – I should not have chosen this ancestral profession. The government claims that they are doing a lot for the artisans, but in reality the situation is quite the opposite. We artisans owe banks loans, which we are not able to repay. We are finding it difficult to meet our needs. Like Rashid, there are hundreds of artisans in Kanihama, who are fighting for their livelihood. Despite his hard work, he doesn’t get what he deserves.

History of Kani Shawl

Kashmiri Kani Pashmina Shawls are known for their beautiful carvings.

Kashmiri Kani Pashmina Shawls are known for their beautiful carvings.

Kani shawl weaving is believed to be the indigenous art of Kanihama village. This work has been going on since 3000 BC. In Kashmiri language, Kani means small rectangular wooden spinning wheel. This shawl is woven using more than 70 kanis or wooden needles. Cashmere shawls and rugs are famous all over the world for their good quality and hand workmanship.

In Kashmir, 3 lakh people doing carpet, paper-mache, shawl, wood carving and handicrafts are facing serious livelihood crisis. After the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and throughout Corona, the shutdown was in force in Kashmir, due to which the problem increased even more.

Decline in export of Kashmiri shawls
According to the data of the Handicrafts Department of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, the export of shawls from Kashmir has fallen sharply in the last three years. Exports were Rs 305.90 crore during 2018-19, Rs 271.62 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 172.53 crore in 2020-21. The situation is such that the Kani Shawl Weaving Factory of Government Handloom Development Corporation in Kanihami is closed for the last 18 months.

A private factory making Kani pashmina shawls in Kanihama village

A private factory making Kani pashmina shawls in Kanihama village

Bashir Ahmed Wani, 60, who has been weaving shawls for the last 45 years, is unemployed these days. Bashir says – Had this factory been open, we would have earned 300 to 400 rupees a day by weaving shawls, but the factory is closed. Hundreds of people were getting employment from this factory. The artisans here are very upset for the last 2 years.

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