Kashmir Pashmina sector, is it dying? | Fusion - WeRIndia

Kashmir Pashmina sector, is it dying?

Kashmir’s Pashmina sector, is it dying?

For centuries, the weaving of Pashmina has been the key economic activity of the Kashmir valley. The profession has employed both literate and illiterate people in both rural and urban areas.

For farmers, who are unemployed during the off-season, it acts as a subsidiary source of income. It has always been a major part of Kashmiri life and culture.

However, thanks to the introduction of new technology, the art of making real, authentic Pashmina is fading away.

The introduction of the power loom, which runs on electricity, is taking away the need for cloth to be handwoven, and thus, less people know the craft of true Pashmina.

There are many misconceptions around Pashmina and its creation. Pashmina is the local name for the cloth, but in foreign countries, it is more commonly known as Cashmere.

Additionally, unlike many animal-made cloths, it does not come from sheep, but it is actually made from the naturally shedding hair of a goat found in Ladakh.

The raw material of true Pashmina must be obtained from the fleece of this mountain goat, collected by combing, since the goat naturally sheds its winter coat. Most importantly, genuine Pashmina must be made entirely by hand, from spinning it to weaving it.

However, nowadays, the competitive nature of the international market is causing a shift toward machine-made Pashmina, since it is a quicker and cheaper process.

A power loom can produce fifteen Pashmina shawls per day, as opposed to the two Pashmina shawls that can be produced by a handloom each day. However, these power looms also come with several downsides.

They have cost many people their jobs, and there are also many fears that the use of them compromises the quality of true Pashmina.

However, there are still many who remember the craft of making genuine Pashmina, and therefore, the art of Pashmina may not fade away just yet.

Image Credit:- “Details in the fabric” by Soumyadeep Paul is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Image Reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/soumya_p/9013810069

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