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Expert carpet weaver from Budgam designs new loom
A tragic end to fabulous art
10/15/2018 10:33:18 PM
Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Oct 15: Dissociating his 35- year long association with traditional carpet making, Altaf Ahmad seems unhappy over the hard decision he had to take.
Carpet weaving, an art passed on to him from his ancestors making him the most experienced carpet dealer in entire Budgam.
However, after witnessing the decline of this coupled with proliferation of Iran made carpet in International markets, his worries saw no end.
Over the past two decades, carpet weavers in the Valley are switching their job. The trade that once fetched Kashmir money and fame is now in the hands of fewer craftsmen. It is owing to very less income for long hours of work.
But if the present situation is any indicator, there are apprehensions that in future carpets would no longer be the trademark of Kashmir. The craft of carpet weaving is slowly dying as the young generation is shying away from it.
To understand the modification and clarity in carpet weaving, Altaf left for Iran in 2014 where the art has been progressing immensely.
"After visiting there I realised that our carpet had many defected which was due to the traditional looms," he said.
Three years after studying the traditional loom made carpets, Altaf has come up with a modified loom, which can produce defect -free carpet in less time.
He said that it took him more than six months in making the loom, which he believes can give a tough competition to foreign made rags.
"During my visit to Iran, I clicked a video of carpet loom there and then made a similar one with few modifications," he said.
Considering the area occupied by traditional looms, he made the modified loom very compact in size, which is portable.
"Normally we see that most of our artisans are very poor and do not have enough space for bigger looms. So this loom is portable and can be taken from one room to another," he said.
"Mostly our women are associated with carpet making and they give up this art after marriage. But this loom they can take to their in-laws home and carry on their art," he said.
He believes the loom can revive the carpet weaving art in Kashmir as it was currently the most cost effective machine in the market.
"Normally, a traditional loom costs Rs 40,000 to 60,000 but the one I made is just Rs 6000-7000 only. So everyone who is desirous of taking up the profession can do it with ease," he said.
He said the artisans can use the loom both sides to weave the carpet in less possible time.
There are hundreds of carpet weavers, who have switched to other profession in the Valley.
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