Budgam Artist Trains Hundreds of People to keep Kani Shawls Alive

Asma Noor
2 Min Read

Shabir Ahmad Dar, a master Kani Shawl artist from Kanihama village in Budgam, Kashmir, has dedicated his life to preserving this centuries-old craft. He has trained hundreds of people, ensuring the survival of this globally renowned art form.

Dar’s family has been involved in Kani Shawl work for nearly a century. His maternal grandfather, Ab Qadir Rangrez, received a national award in 1965 for his exceptional work. Dar himself started learning the art at the age of 13 and has been practicing it for over 25 years.

Through his Shikargah Handloom Kani Shawl unit, Dar has trained numerous individuals. Meanwhile, many of them now work in the handicraft department, while others have established successful careers in the field. Currently, he provides work to over 50 artists who have trained under his guidance.

GI Tag to Kani Shawls

Despite the challenges posed by machine-made items, handmade Kani Shawls have maintained their popularity. The introduction of the GI (Geographical Indication) tag has helped distinguish genuine handmade shawls from their machine-made counterparts. Dar has received national recognition for his work in Jaipur and hopes to earn more accolades in the future.

The government has provided support to artisans like Dar by offering working sheds, free loans, and lighting facilities. However, more needs to be done to promote this sector and provide international market access. This will increase the rates of handmade shawls, which have remained stagnant for the past two decades.

Dar’s dedication to preserving Kani Shawls serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists and a testament to the resilience of Kashmir’s rich cultural heritage

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