Kashmiri handicrafts set to dazzle German and European markets – NewsGram


Jammu and Kashmir is ready to show its potential through government initiatives for a much needed boost to the handicrafts sector in the post-pandemic world. Starting with Germany’s export promotion, Kashmir’s Director of Handicrafts and Handweaving, Mahmood Ahmad Shah held an in-depth web meeting with Dr. Suyash Chavan from the Consulate General of India (CGI) , in Germany.

The online meeting exclusively assessed the scope of developing end-to-end export links to supply quality Kashmiri handicrafts to the German market as well as the rest of Europe. Since the turn of the century, many German delegations, such as the Indo-German Export Promotion, have visited the valley with keen interest in handicrafts, especially Kashmiri rugs, which have immense potential in Europe. Germany is the largest consumer of Kashmiri carpets and additionally imports chain stitch, papier-mâché and Kashmiri walnut furniture. The country’s cold winters make it an ideal destination for the use of Kashmiri shawls, rugs and carpets.

Read also : Unique Kashmiri handicrafts

This liaison will also help create a community of art lovers – importers of handicrafts from Germany with exporters from Kashmir – and will result in a pool of shared knowledge to achieve master craftsmanship and connect with art connoisseurs through digital platforms, ensuring long-term sustainability for arts like Papier-mache, Sozni, Kani shawl, basket weaving, Khatamband, wood carving, silver and copper carving, carpet weaving, leather, silk and Pashmina weaving among other crafts for which Kashmir is celebrated in German markets.

Domotex Hannover Carpet Exhibition, one of the biggest carpet exhibition held in Hannover Germany. | Unsplash

Previously, Kashmir-based companies participated in Domotex Hannover Carpet Exhibition, one of the biggest carpet exhibition held annually in Hannover Germany, and stood out as the stars. The carpets in the historical backdrop of Kashmir date back to the time of the famous Sufi saint Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (1341-1385 AD) from Persia. When he came to Kashmir, he trained exceptionally talented craftsmen alongside him and laid the foundation for the cottage industry in Kashmir. Kashmiri rugs are considered the finest rugs in the world after Persian rugs. Kashmir’s participation in upcoming exhibitions and trade shows which will provide international exposure and honor unsold inventory from Covid days was discussed.

Firstly, GI certified products of Kashmir must be presented to the Consulate General of India, Germany which includes Pashmina, Khatamband, Walnut Wood Carving, Sozni, Kani Shawl, Hand Knotted Carpet, Paper Mache and saffron for display purposes at the Consulate General. Office in Munich and in exhibitions in Germany. The Consulate General learned about the export incentive offered by the government on GI-certified products and the renewed focus on craftsmanship in view of the recent UNESCO handicraft listing for the city of Srinagar.

He was briefed on initiatives taken to promote artisans through handicraft tours, GI labeling of Kashmiri rugs and adaptation of blockchain mechanism to check for piracy and bad image of Kashmiri handicraft brand. The Advocate General was assured that digital content like images, videos, brochures will be provided to CG for dissemination in the German market. The Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) plays a catalytic role in connecting international buyers with Kashmiri carpet exporters by creating various sourcing opportunities in India and other countries. CEPC plays an important role in skill development, market promotion, establishment of key carpet production centers and the latest innovations in the carpet industry.

Image of hand painted bowls

In Kashmir, handicrafts worth an average of Rs 2,100 crore are sold every year. | Unsplash

In previous years, fairs, culture, crafts and craft shows organized by Safeways Exhibitions in conjunction with Impact International, a Germany-based company, have also proven beneficial. Exporters are motivated by government initiatives to showcase their talent. Other exhibitions include the Shanghai Handicraft Fair and other fairs in China, a country that places great importance on tradition and culture passed down from generation to generation.

Through such ASEAN buyer-seller exhibitions, conferences and meetings in the past, handicrafts worth more than USD 1,000,000 are easily reserved. These platforms have served as a breeding ground for attracting handicraft exports and people with a keen interest in handmade items. In Kashmir, handicrafts worth an average of Rs 2,100 crore are sold every year with 2.5 lakh of artisans directly employed.

The German fear for Kashmiri craftsmen dates back to the pre-electronic era – after World War II, when German-made iron and steel machinery, especially medical equipment, was common in the valley. Kashmir was ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh in the 1940s. Impressed by the craftsmen who revived a German tourist’s gear like no one else could have imagined, the Maharaja lovingly gave them named “German Khars” (workers) because of their know-how. Kashmiri artisans have exceptional magic in their hands. Although this craft has been preserved for decades, today only one blacksmith, Ghulam Mohiuddin, continues the work.

With promising proposals from various parties, Kashmiri art exporters expect booming sales in 2022 after witnessing a sluggish market in recent years. This season, the production and conceptualization of new models are underway, which will facilitate sales and gain international recognition. Participation of Kashmiri art contributors will also be ensured in Asia’s largest gifts and handicrafts fair which is held every two years and is organized by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) . The famous Dubai Exhibition and Trade Fair is another major area of ​​interest.

Image of a person weaving something by hand

Training of craftsmen and weavers in Kashmir within the framework of the recognition of prior learning. | Pixabay

Kashmiri handicrafts and looms are at the core of Jammu and Kashmir’s trade and export policy (2018-2028), which plans to increase it fivefold over the next five years. The policy provides an e-commerce platform for artisans to foster the growth of the craft sector. Last year in November, Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar launched a pilot project to revive and promote dying Namda handicrafts at J&K, with a push to increase exports by Rs. 600 crore to 6,000 crore. Two ambitious projects — “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) 3.0” and “Upgrading Kashmiri Artisans and Weavers under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), a component of PMKVY”, were launched by the Minister State of the Union for Skills Development, Entrepreneurship, Electronics and IT. These programs will continuously focus on the training, development and retraining of local youth to solidify the foundations of PM Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. (IANS/SP)

(Keywords: Kashmir, crafts, European, German, markets, trade, export, politics, government, India, exhibition, tourism, carpets, furnishings, sculpture, weaving, digital.)

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