Mubashir Aalam Wani
Srinagar, Jan 11 : Sajad Ahmad Dar, a coppersmith from Baramulla has dissociated himself from the art for the last two years.
After an invasion by machine made of copper, he moved to the hospitality sector by working as a waiter in a hotel in Srinagar.
While he regrets leaving the art which he imbibed from his ancestors, he calls his waiter’s job a compulsion to make ends meet.
He, however, is hopeful to return to his ancestral profession especially after the government started taking measures to check manufacturing of machine-made copper utensils in the valley.
“Designing copperware is my ancestral profession. I was hopeful that the government will take some measures to promote the art. I am now thinking of starting my work of making and designing copperware again,” he told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
Taking strict measures against machine made copper, the Director of Handicrafts and Handloom (H&H) Kashmir has been appointed by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir as the person in charge of implementing the J&K Prohibition of Manufacture of Specified Copper Utensils (by machine) Act.
The step is aimed to combat the introduction of machines in crafting copper utensils which has resulted in marginalization of traditional artisans, and has allowed individuals without specific copper working skills to enter the industry, adversely affecting traditional craftsmen.
“This move has given us hope for the future of our craft. We have seen a decline in demand for our handmade products, but with the ban on machine-made copperware, we believe our unique craftsmanship will be valued once again,” said Nazir Ahmad Wani, a coppersmith, who has been associated with the art for over 40 years.
Pertinently the handicrafts department has recently included copperware, along with 20 other crafts, in the category of ‘Notified Crafts’ to support local artisans. This inclusion facilitated the registration of copperware artisans, granting them access to various government support programs.
Director of Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir Mahmood Ahmad Shah said the identification of deceptive artisans and manufacturers of copperware by the Quality Control Division will be given top priority.
He urged the public to purchase copper items labelled with QR codes, as this supports authentic artisans—(KNO)