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.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Protecting Intellectual Property of Kashmiri Artisans

It is always a challenge to trademark an unique talent

Pashmina and Kani Shawl get GI Registration

Abid Bashir (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar:Much to the delight of the Kashmiri artisans, Union Minister for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narender Nath Vohra Sunday dedicated Geographical Indications (GI) registration of Kashmiri Pashmina and Kani Shawl to the artisans and craft industry of the State.

Around two years ago, Ramesh had promised Kashmiri artisans that Kashmiri Pashmina and Kani Shawl will be registered under GI, “to stop its exploitation in every aspect.”

“I have fulfilled my promise and I feel pleasure in announcing that Kashmir Pashmina and Kani shall is now fully protected. The GI registration of these two treasures will help safeguard and promote age old handicrafts of Kashmir,” the Union Minister said in a meeting held at Sheri-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).

Union Minister for Commerce and Power also promised Kashmiri artisans that Kashmiri Sozini will be given GI status within next 15 to 20 days.

Explaining the benefits of GI registration, Ramesh said, it will provide ownership, protection, certification and promotion to Kashmiri Pashmina and Kani Shawl.

“The GI registration will provide full rights to the Kashmiri artisans to produce and manufacture these two products so that it could reach every market of India with Kashmiri logo” Ramesh said.

The GI registration of these products, the Union Minster said, will increase the market value “that would automatically rise its demand.”.

“It was in 2003, when our Parliament passed GI registration of Goods Act. So far 96 items had come under this registration. With the registration of Kashmiri Pashmina and Kani shawl, the number of registered items has reached 98,” Ramesh informed.

Union Minister for Commerce and Power applauded Craft Development Institute (CDI) for its hard work in producing attractive craft items especially shawls, wood carving and other items.

“We have to cross another milestone by making the registration of Kashmir Pashmina, Kani shawl and Kashmiri Sozini with the foreign countries like Europe and America,” Ramesh said.

He said New Delhi was ready to provide every kind of assistance to the Kashmiri artisans in promoting their products.

About the ban on Shahtoos, Ramesh said Prime Minister had formed a team of Task Force to study the Shahtoos ban under Textile Ministry. “Keeping in view the demands of Kashmiri artisans that ban on Shahtoos should be lifted, I will myself study the report on Shahtoos and see what could be done,” Ramesh added.

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Governor Narender Nath Vohra said that it takes at least two years to register the products under GI. “We should be thankful to the Ramesh and New Delhi for allowing the registration of Kashmiri Pashmina and Kani Shawl,” Vohra said.

He said in Ludhiana, he had seen Shawls and other wood carving items being sold under Kashmiri tag.
“The GI registration will help gag the manufactures who were hell-bent on exploiting Kashmiri brands especially craft items. On this auspicious occasion, I would like to state that we should eye on sending our products to United States, Europe and World Trade Organization (WTO) under proper registration,” the Governor said.

Meanwhile, President of Tahafoz, an association formed by the CDI and a veteran craftsman, Ali Muhammad Najar, thanked all dignitaries along with Director CDI Muhammad Shariq Farooqi for bringing smile on the faces of scores of Kashmiri craftsmen by announce GI registration on Pashmina Shawl.

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