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.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good News for the Kashmiri Pashmina Industry

Government of India steps in to protect brand Kashmir

Kashmiri Pashmina gets patented

Srinagar: A long standing demand of the Kashmir Pashmina weavers of patenting it, has been acceded by the government of India and has patented the traditional Kashmiri Pashmina shawl to prevent its imitation that has been causing heavy losses to the weavers in the valley.

From now onwards, the genuine Kashmiri Pashmina shawl would have its own logo making it distinct from the imitated ones, which officials believe it will make the sale of imitated shawls not only difficult, but also impossible.

The weavers have welcomed this move of the Government and they believe it will help them earn lucrative profits.

“I think it is a good move on the part of the government to put a patent mark on Pashmina shawls because it is going to help the customer to distinguish between the genuine and the fake one. It is also going to be lucrative for our business,” said a weaver.

Following the ban on Shatoosh, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have been recommending the patenting of the Kashmir Pashmina.

After census of Shahtoosh workers in the Valley, the WTI and IFAW had positioned Kashmir Pashmina as a viable alternative to the banned Shahtoosh products mainly to prevent alleged poaching of the Tibetan antelope commonly known as the Chiru.

Moreover, the sale of spurious shawls, allegedly from Amritsar in particular, to the tourists as genuine Kashmiri Pashmina had intensified the campaign for patenting of the traditional shawls.

After two years of hectic efforts, the Geographical Indication Registry has awarded the patent under the name ‘Kashmiri Pashmina’ to a society of diverse Kashmiri handicraft artisans, ‘Tahafuz’ (protection).

“This is a good step in the interest of Kashmir that Pashmina has been patented. This is a traditional knowledge, which is specific to a particular community in this area. If anybody else tries to sell something else in some other place in the name of Pashmina, then legal action can be taken against him, ” said Shariq Farooqi, Director, Craft Development Association of Srinagar.

Impressively soft and light, the Pashmina shawls offer incomparable warmth and are made from the fur of a mountain goat that is found in India, Nepal and Tibet.

Over the years, designers in Kashmir have made subtle changes to the Pashmina, incorporating more embroidery patterns and designs, while holding on to traditions. Besides an active domestic clientele, Pashminas from Kashmir are exported to a large number of countries with major clients coming from the US, UK and Australia.

(Daily Etalaat)

No comments: