Kashmiri Carpets Near Extinction

Due to low profits, Kashmiri craftsmen are slowly abandoning carpet weaving.Kashmir is renowned for its rich handicraft industry that has been profoundly influenced by Persian art and patterns. Handicraft constitutes an important part of the Kashmir economy, and of the culture and identity of the region. Carpet weaving has been a traditional source of income for generations but the activity is becoming increasingly unprofitable, and a significant number of weavers are turning away from their traditional occupation.

Thus, the 200,000 artisans who work in the Kashmir handicrafts industry face extinction of their trades, as sales of handmade carpets and shawls have drastically reduced. Indeed, Kashimri carpets are primarily exported to the Middle-East, Europe and the US, which have all been hit by the economic recession. Besides, the weavers are the last link in the long chain of middlemen, that all benefit from the sale of their products. At the end, weavers are left with no more than Rs 50 per day to survive.

Sajad, our Community Correspondent in Kashmir, is proud of the beauty and delicacy of his state’s handicrafts, and wishes this tradition goes on and is perpetuated by skilled craftsmen. So, he decided to make a video to publicize their difficulties, and to encourage the government to take action. “The Kashmiri Government needs to support the handicraft industry, to protect our culture and our tradition,” says Sajad.

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