By Vivek Tripathi
After the Chief Minister’s visit on Sunday to the stall, Dolma’s ‘Pashmina’ shawls and stoles are finding a lot of buyers.
She said, “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath came to my stall and saw the Pashmina shawls. An orange coloured Pashmina shawl fascinated him and I told him that its cost was Rs 70,000. He did not buy it.”
The CM may have found it too expensive, but since Sunday Dolma has seen a rush of visitors, many of whom have bought the shawls.
The ‘Hunar Haat’, is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs to provide market and opportunities to indigenous products for the artisans and craftsmen. The ongoing haat is the 24th one and is running at the Avadh Shilpgram with the theme of ‘vocal for local. It started on January 22 and will continue till February 4.
Apart from shawls, Pashmina stoles are also becoming the favourite with the visitors. Each of these costs Rs 3,000 to 5,000.
The lockdown after the abrogation of Article 370 followed by Covid-induced difficulties, the Pashmir business in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has seen a major slump. However, the initiatives like the Hunar Haat are proving to be a boon for the business.
Pashmina wool is considered as the best wool. It is obtained from Changthangi goats found in extremely cold places in Ladakh. Changthangi goats are reared by nomadic Changpa cattle ranchers in the Changthang region, a western extension of the Tibetan plateau near the Indo-China border in eastern Ladakh.
The wool made from the hair of these goats in India is called ‘Pashmina wool’ but the people of Europe call it ‘Kashmiri wool’. Kashmiri embroidery is weaved on shawls made from Pashmina.
The needle embroidery on Pashmina shawls is a livelihood for many artisans in many districts of Ladakh and Kashmir. They use wool threads to weave intricate designs. Silk thread is rarely used in needle embroidery.
Due to this such shawls are quite expensive. These shawls are quite light and warm. They are supplied from Kashmir mostly to Delhi and north India. Talking about foreign countries, Pashmina shawls are also exported from Kashmir in countries like Europe, Germany, Gulf countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Kunzang Dolma is a living example of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. Her grandfather reared the Changthangi goats. Taking inspiration from him, Kunzang started the work of making shawls, suits, stoles, sweaters, caps, etc. with two other women from her own pocket money.