The Kashmir valley has mostly been in the news for the ongoing violence. Besides causing pain and trauma to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict has also adversely affected the lives of the Pashmina weavers and spinners. They have lost work and become more vulnerable to the exploitation of middle men.
However, there are some weavers like Manzoor and his son Fayaz whose jazba (commitment) towards their craft acts like a healing touch in an otherwise brutalised environment.
With a mandate of working with weavers and reviving traditional crafts, the Baragaon Weaves team has begun work with Pashmina weavers and spinners in the Kashmir valley.
Surrounded by the mighty PirPanajal mountains, in the narrow by lanes of downtown Srinagar’s Hawal locality, live Manzoor and his son Faiyaz . The locals remember Manzoor’s father as one of the mashahoor(prominent and accomplished)weavers of Kashmir. They live in an old two-storied house.
Manzoor and Faiyaz, on the second floor of this ancient house, weave the purest Pashmina shawls and stoles. They have four looms and when they weave, the sound of the spindle mingles with the sound of the loom and the magic of pashmina comes alive.
True to his art, Manzoor refuses to work with yarn manufactured in mills. For him, real Pashmina yarn must not only be spun by hand but must also belong to the pashmina goats that are found at an altitude of 14000 meters and above in Ladakh.
These days a lot of Pashmina yarns are spun in the mills of Ludhiana and other towns and sent to Srinagar for weaving. Mazanahiata mill kedhago se kaamkarnemeinjanaab (We don’t enjoy weaving with mill-made threads. It doesn’t feel good) says Faiyaz.
There is not a single mechanised process involved in their work, nor is chemical or dye used. The result of their toil is handmade Pashmina products that are so sublime and delicate to the touch that they seduce you.
Everything about this Pashmina is natural. It’s soft and warm and absolutely mesmerising to look at. This Pashmina symbolises purity as well as luxury
The melody of the looms and the delicate skills of the Pashmina weavers has, thus, inspired us not only to reach out to many more artisans like Manzoor and their behtareenkarigari (best of craftsmanship) but also to revive the purest form of Pashmina products and take them to our most committed customers.