If it is Christmas, it has to be Kashmir's famed paper mache products made by Iqbal Hussain Khan. National Award winner Iqbal Khan, 60, is busy dispatching thousands of paper mache art and craft items for customers in India and Europe ahead of December 25
If it is Christmas, it has to be Kashmir's famed paper mache products made by Iqbal Hussain Khan. National Award winner Iqbal Khan, 60, is busy dispatching thousands of paper mache art and craft items for customers in India and Europe ahead of December 25. Celebrations, particularly during Christmas, in Europe are deemed incomplete without the unique paper mache items created and exported by the artisan Srinagar-based Iqbal Khan, according to UNI news agency.
Khan, who has no formal educational qualification, told UNI that he learnt everything from his uncle Ghulam Hussain from the age of ten. He won the National Award for crafting and designing a unique paper mache jewelry box embedded with pure gold flower artwork.
Paper mache products have been made by a sect of people in Kashmir since it was introduced to India in the 14th century by Persian mystic Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, who came from Persia to Kashmir and brought skilled artisans and craftsmen with him. With the passage of time, Kashmiri artisans added their own flavour to the art form, winning them attention all around the world.
"There are hundreds of other beautiful items which are being crafted and created in Kashmir.
“As soon as Christmas is over, new orders pour in,” he said. "Hundreds of artisans including men and women are being engaged to meet the demand every year.”
Running his unit under the name Khan Brothers, in Alamgari Bazar in Qazidori in downtown Srinagar, Khan said: ‘My items are marketed in America, Germany, France, England, Australia and many European countries.
“People love our artwork as these are prepared only in Kashmir. Foreigners keeping our unique items in their homes as decoration. They are also gifted to relatives and friends."
The Covid-19 pandemic did hit Khan very hard. "It was a very tough time for the craftsmen associated with this trade.
“We appeal to the Indian government...... to announce a special package for these craftsmen who suffered huge losses due to the pandemic during the past two years,” he said.(SAM)