Srinagar: Master craftsman Ghulam Mohammad Beigh was recently offered Rs. 10 lakh by a businessman for an antique ‘jamawar’ shawl belonging to the family. However, Beigh declined the offer and said it was not for sale. He said the shawl was part of their family collection.
For two years now, master craftsman Ghulam Mohammad Beigh has been making Sozni embroidery on a “jamawar” shawl in his residence in the Donipora Zadibal district of the old town.
The Beigh family recipient of several awards
The Beigh family have been doing sozni work on Pashmina shawls for generations and have won several national, national and international awards. The walls of the room where he works are strewn with frames of award certificates received by the family. Few other artisans can also be found in the room embroidering on shawls and pashmina costumes.
Pointing to a “jamawar shawl” he’s been working on for two years, Beigh said it would take him another year to complete the product. Stating that the shawl would cost Rs 3.5 lakh when completed, the award-winning craftsman says he works from 8am to dusk every day.
“Junoon” to make sozni masterpieces
While the craftsman gets Rs. 3.5 lakh only after three years of hard work, the shawl can sell for double the price later in the art market.
Beigh said his family spent a “June” making masterpieces.
“Our family has a ‘Junoon’ to make masterpieces. We have won a number of state and national awards. Our father, our grandfather and even our great-grandfather were all craftsmen. Our children also do this work, ”he told the Kashmir Monitor.
“Young people today want shortcuts, instant celebrity”
However, he regretted that today’s generations wanted shortcuts and quick fame.
“There is no shortage of work even today, but no one wants to work on a single shawl for two years. New craftsmen come to learn this trade but there is no patience. Young people these days want shortcuts and instant fame. We were only looking for honor and recognition, but today they want rewards as well as money, ”Beigh said.
Kashmir Handicrafts and Loom Director Mahmood Ahmad Shah said the Beigh family even won an international award.
“This family has won several state and national awards. In England, one of the family members (Beigh) has already been declared ‘master of all craftsmen’ in a competition in which around 300 people have entered, ”Shah told the Kashmir Monitor.
“Sozni Work” on the Srinagar Handicraft Safari Route
Incidentally, artisans like those of the Beigh family can be seen doing “sozni” work on shawls and pashmina costumes in the old town of Zadibal during the “Srinagar Crafts Safari” which was recently started by the Department of ‘Arts and crafts. The safari began following Srinagar’s arrival on the coveted list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the Crafts and Folk Art category for the year 2021.
The director of Handicrafts and Handloom said they have launched the Srinagar Craft Safari as part of efforts to boost the craft industry.
“We started the Srinagar Craft Safari in different parts of Srinagar old town so that people can experience the rich handicrafts. Through the safari, people will also meet the artisans and see how different handicrafts are made, ”he said.
Srinagar sixth Indian city on the UNESCO list
This year, Srinagar’s candidacy was forwarded to UNESCO on June 29 by the Government of India (GoI) and this candidacy is now the worldwide recognition of Srinagar’s rich artisan heritage.
Relevantly, the nomination dossier of Srinagar as a Creative City was first filed by Srinagar in 2019. However, only two cities – Hyderabad for gastronomy and Mumbai for cinema were chosen that year. Prior to the year 2019, only three Indian cities had been recognized as members of Creative Cities – Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Art) in 2015, Varanasi (Creative City of Music) in 2015 and Chennai (Creative City of Music) in 2017. .