Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In This Global Economy Can Kashmiri Exports be Immune to Price Pressures?

Sadly, natives are resorting to quick-fix business schemes to insulate from market vagaries which will only bring ruin in the long term .....

Rising prices, piracy impedes handicrafts’ growth

Imran Khan

Srinagar: Regardless of handicraft being the only source of income for a fairly large number of Kashmiris, handicrafts sector is beset with the problem of rising prices of raw material thereby squeezing the profit margins of the poor artisans.

“The raw material that we use in making our shawls is also becoming costlier by the day. Earlier the plain shawl that we used to purchase for Rs 350 now costs us Rs 450 to Rs 500 now and even the prices of Pashmina per kilogram have increased from Rs 25000 to Rs 35000”, Farooq Ahmed, a local artisan said.Besides the sector is facing another challenge from pirates who have brought a bad name to the glorious heritage of arts and crafts of Kashmir.

“Today Kashmir Art is facing major difficulty with respect to piracy as several Kashmiris get the replicas of Kashmir Handicrafts manufactured through machines at places like Amritsar and further sell them under the tag of Kashmiri Handicraft to earn profits. This way due to the low production cost of these replicas, these people make huge profits leaving bad impression about the original Kashmiri Arts and crafts”, Ahmed added.

“But Kashmiris are creating problems for themselves. By selling the fake products made from machines in the name of handicrafts, they are deceiving the people. And this is tarnishing the image of Kashmiri arts and crafts in the market that is famous across the world for its quality”, Rauf Ahmed Wani, a local artisan said.

“The rates of raw material are also going high and now with the manufacturing cost going high even the labour costs increasing. For instance earlier we used to get a role of thread for Rs 20 but now you get the same for nothing less that Rs 40 to Rs 45. on the other hand ruffle has increase by Rs 20 per Kg now the even the colouring charges have more than doubled from Rs 5 to Rs 11 or Rs 12”, Wani said adding that small artisans like us are the worst sufferers of both piracy and pricing.

(Rising Kashmir)

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