Srinagar: Master-craftsman Ghulam Rasool Khan had once made a shawl using 360 individual pieces of ‘jamawar’. He has produced several other priceless jamawar designs for which he has received several state and national level awards including the prestigious Padmashree (2021).
Though Khan has not lost passion for this work, he regrets that the new generation does not take much interest in the craft and says the machine-made cheap varieties posed a great threat to the sector.
“Now, we have machine-made shawls that sell for Rs. 5000 and are no match for the original jamawar. This is the biggest threat to this craft as there is no match for a hand-made piece. This art requires a lot of hard work and patience but nowadays artisans do not have the patience,” Khan told reporters during a Craft Safari to Amda Kadal area of the old city on Saturday.
The safaris had been started in the wake of Srinagar making it to the coveted list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Crafts and Folk Arts Category for the year 2021.
Khan said they also used to receive orders worth Rs. 100 cr for ‘Arabi Rumal’ annually but due to entry of fakes, they had stopped receiving the same.
“There was a time when there was a great demand for Arabi rumal. The ones we make have different and intricate artwork that is not usually available in the market. There was a time when we used to receive orders to the tune of Rs. 100 cr annually from the elite Arabs. Unfortunately, the same has stopped now,” he said.
An official of the Handicrafts Department said the master craftsman had received several awards in recognition of his hard work.
“Though many artisans have received Padmashree, Ghulam Rasool Khan is the only one who has received it for his jamawar works. He has also received several other awards at the state and national level. His enthusiasm, patience, and knowledge of the colours and designs enabled him to bring out the extraordinary work. He also made a shawl using 360 individual pieces of jamwar to make the pattern,” the official said.