The government has added twenty-one new Kashmiri handicrafts to its list of
Nadia Farooq
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The art of manufacturing waguv mats goes back to the 18th century in Kashmir. The 300-year-old art of making flooring from reed and rice straw entwined together in harmony keeps homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Srinagar, July 7: The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has recognised the hundreds of craftsmen in Kashmir by designating an additional 21 handicrafts as “Notified Handicrafts.”

The recognition of these arts has long been sought by the practitioners, who stand to earn a stronger feeling of personal identity and pride as a result of the recognition.

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It will allow the government agency to keep track of the people who practise the forgotten arts and crafts, so protecting and preserving them from oblivion. Documenting these craftspeople’s extensive knowledge will help keep their methods and skills alive for future generations.

In addition, the artisans will be able to take advantage of government assistance programmes like the Artisan/Weavers Credit scheme, Karkhandar scheme, Assistance under the Cooperative Act, MUDRA Scheme, and educational benefits for their kin, all of which will help boost the number of genuine artisans in the community.

The department will ensure that the craftsmen are given the same opportunities as other registered artisans to advertise and sell their wares at department-hosted exhibits, trade fairs, and cultural events.

The Department of Handicrafts and Handloom in Kashmir has been lobbying hard for Geographical Indication (GI) status for all indigenous crafts made in Kashmir, and the timing of this notification couldn’t be better.

Crafts such as Sozni embroidery, staple embroidery, khatamband, paper pulp, kharadi, glazed pottery, katas, copperware engraving, copperware sakhta, pottery, calligraphy, painting, handcrafted furniture, handcrafted aromatics, handcrafted soap, filigree, mosaic craft, wagguv, shikara, willow bats, and innovative crafts have been notified. There are now 31 “Notified Crafts,” including 21 from Kashmir and 10 from Jammu.

The Director of Handicrafts and Handloom in Kashmir is pleased that the Jammu and Kashmir Handicrafts Quality Control Act of 1978 now includes various arts and crafts as Notified Crafts, since this will meet the needs of many different types of craftsmen.

We’re reaching out to the Kashmiri craftspeople in a number of different ways. Some of the key activities that are now under way include proactive marketing, restrictions on counterfeit handicraft items, incentives for craftsmen, and the implementation of a GI-system for handicrafts, he added.

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