NATIONAL HANDLOOM DAY

As the National Handloom Day will be celebrated tomorrow the 7th August across the nation it is most opportune time to initiate efforts in order to revolutionize the handloom production in India’s crown state J&K. While serious efforts were initiated during the tenure of Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on this day in the direction of maintaining quality, enhancing volume of production and giving the artisans, who possess the rare art of making some of the finest hand-made products in the world, a level-playing field, yet a lot needs to be done especially to do justice with Ladakh as well as Jammu regions which have always been discriminated by the Kashmir Centric governments. It is a fact that despite handicraft or handloom existing in selected pockets of Jammu as well as Ladakh regions has remained ignored in these two regions. There is no doubt that Kashmir is well known for its varied handloom or handicraft products including carpets, shawls etc. but the products be it shatoosh from Ladakh or Handlooms from the hilly winter zone areas of Jammu province also deserve to be promoted at the national and international level so that the poor artisans of Jammu and Ladakh division get economic boost. Besides addressing the economic concern of this lot, the people of the two regions Ladakh and Jammu would feel that efforts are being made in the real sense to address the issue of decades’ old alienation and discrimination against the two regions mostly considered to be non entities in the state of affairs in this state till date. Handloom weaving is one of the richest and vibrant aspects of J&K’s cultural heritage. The artistry and intricacy achieved in the handloom fabrics woven in the State is not only unique but has been acclaimed internationally with the weavers of the State having mastered the art of translating masterpieces into fabrics. Pashmina and Kani shawls from the valley besides Tweed, Blankets, Lois and other fabrics from Jammu and some unique handloom fabrics of Ladakh deserve to be promoted simultaneously on all fora at the national as well as International level. It is an acknowledged fact that the artisans need to take the first step in this direction by coming forward themselves especially those from the Jammu and Ladakh regions but at the same time the state government can’t be absolved of its liability to encourage the so far uncared artisans to upgrade the quality and quantity of their handloom products in conformity with the International standards. It was on 7th August, in 1905 that Swadeshi Movement was launched in the country to boycott the use of fabric made in British Mills in Manchester and indigenous home spun fabric became the symbol of Nationalism thus leading to revival of the handloom sector in the country. If today we fail to save the cottage handloom industries in the state from extinction it would really be an irony. Therefore the people of the state especially those from Jammu and Ladakh hope that the state government presently under the Governor’s Rule, in coordination with the Central Ministry identifies the specific cottage industries in the handloom sector across the state especially those which being at the brink of extinction in the Ladakh and Jammu regions and initiate measures to revive them. These cottage industries could also lure the youth for running their own enterprises and addressing the unemployment problem too. Let the handloom weavers come forward to join this endeavour on the day that has been dedicated to their cause. After all it is these handloom weavers who have to metamorphosize their traditional skill and art as per the requirements of contemporary times, for which the government shall provide the requisite support. In view of the administration of the state being run exclusively by the SAC under the astute stewardship of the Governor NN Vohra, the artisans as a whole and those from Jammu and Ladakh especially belonging to handloom sector have hoped pinned to the Governor in getting their long pending just and genuine grievances addressed at the earliest.