‘Khurja pottery  to sozni’: First of its kind handicrafts expo in Kashmir connects craftsmen from different states

Srinagar: Gandhi Shilp Bazaar’ has brought together 100 artisans from different parts of the country to showcase India’s varied handicraft products.

 From famous Khurja pottery to Nagpur jewelry and from sozni’ to crewel,  craftsmen are trying to reach a wide array of people to promote their art.

 Authorities say such events help connect J&K’s artisans’ community with their counterparts in other parts of countries and besides generating employment, it helps in increasing footfalls of visitors.

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“This event is connecting J&K with other parts as the exhibition is displaying products of artisans from different states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc. Several local artisans too have displayed their goods. Such exhibitions also increase footfall. Besides locals,  tourists too are coming to buy Kashmir products,” Director, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.

The exhibition is being held at the Kashmir Haat here and the Office of the Development Commissioner Handicrafts is organizing the event. The 10-day-long event will conclude on October 18.

Though artisans from outside J&K have displayed their products at the Kashmir Haat in the past as well, Raja Rahil Rashid, Assistant Director, Handicrafts Service Centre said this was the first event of its kind.

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“For the first time ever, we have organized Gandhi Shilp Bazaar here even though it is regularly organized in other parts of the country. We have set up 100 stalls as 100 artisans from different states have been invited for the exhibition and sale of their products. There are around 60 crafts on display. Khurja pottery is the main attraction and then there is Nagpur jewelry, Saharanpur wood carving, and Kashmir’s sozni, crewel, papier mache, etc. We are hopeful that this exhibition will become a regular feature in the future,” Rashid said.

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He said they also wanted to give a message to the local youth through this exhibition.

“Events like this help in employment generation and it sends a message to the local youth involved in Kashmir handicrafts. Right now, we are holding this exhibition here and tomorrow it will be held outside (J&K) where we will give the local youth a chance to showcase their products. We are also hopeful that it becomes a regular feature in Kashmir,” he said.

Ghulam Mohinuddin Rather, secretary of the Sabzar Social Welfare Society said the artisans were selling the goods at reasonable rates.

“After lots of effort, we finally got this exhibition here… Kashmir main pehli baar, Gandhi Shilp Bazaar. Handicrafts from several other states are being sold here at reasonable rates. There is no need for people in Kashmir to go outside to buy products like juti and so many other products,” he said.

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