New Internationalist

Kashmir’s pashmina woes

May 2017

Machine manufacturing of Pashmina scarves has saturated the market, leaving artisans without hope of a secure future, writes Nathalie Olah.

19-04-2017-Tear_Manual-590.jpg [Related Image]
Pashmina Making Luiz Paulo Oliveira Paula under a Creative Commons Licence

An item from the Agenda section of the magazine, where we look beyond the news curve with reports and comment on breaking stories.

Machine manufacturing of Pashmina scarves has saturated the market, leaving artisans without hope of a secure future, writes Nathalie Olah.

In March, scores of Pashmina weavers took to the streets of Srinagar to protest against the devaluation of their industry at the hands of large-scale corporations. Machine manufacturing of Pashmina scarves has saturated the market, leaving artisans who have sustained the craft for centuries without hope of a secure future.

The recent boom in Pashmina sales has also led to a secondary industry, built around the buying and selling of forgeries, reducing the demand for authentic wool. The nomadic lifestyle of the goat herders makes for treacherous living, often at altitude and under the very real threat of encountering snow leopards. But the trade forms such an important part of the local economy that most would struggle to find alternative work.

Efforts to rehabilitate the local industry are being led by individuals such as Babar Afzal, a Kashmir native and former employee of a global management consultancy firm. He brings suppliers and consumers closer together to reduce the possibility of exploitation by tradespeople and the fashion industry, and helps to raise awareness of the fake Pashmina trade and the damage it is causing to local people by driving down prices. But it is clear that both the fashion industry and consumers will need to push for change and accountability if there is to be a long-term solution.

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 502 This feature was published in the May issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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  1. #1 paneendra 25 Apr 17

    Time has come to seek divine intervention for the Kashmir problem. Let’s pray for Peaceful Kashmir and One India Strong India on April 30 2017 Shankarajayanti at Shankaracharya hill Srinagar. The best way to remember and follow teachings of Adi guru Shankaracharya is to pray for Kashmir on Shankarajayanti. Many sages came to Kashmir in search of knowledge .As we know Kashmir the land of sages and Saints got its name from Kashyapa muni. Saint Abhinav gupta was from here. Adi guru Shankaracharya meditated here. The land of knowledge and spiritualisms is disturbed today due to ignorance. Let’s restore Kashmir to its ancient glory. Let’s us all pray together to god to send a saint again who will restore Peace, Knowledge and Spiritualism back in Kashmir. #PeacefullKashmir #OneIndiaStrongIndia

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This article was originally published in issue 502

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