Srinagar, Dec 6: An elderly man from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district is trying to keep an old Kashmiri tradition of making sandals (chappals) with straw alive.
Muhammad Yousuf Bhat (60), a resident of Zantrag village in Khrew, in Pampore hamlet of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district has been trying to keep the tradition alive by making Pulhoor, which is centuries old and were worn by people as footwear in ancient times.
Muhammad Yousuf, said that he has learnt this art of making footwear, mats and other things from his forefathers and he is nowadays making these chappals and other things at School of Design in Srinagar.
“I have been making these items made of straw for decades and I have been making these old traditional items at school of Design Srinagar,” he said.
He said: “When I was student, father used to teach me how to make mats, Pulhoor and other things made of straw and used to say one who earns by struggle is a friend of Allah and his observation proved true and I have been earning my livelihood very well by making these old traditional items.”
“Though customers of such items are very few, these straw made items are skin and environment friendly which anyone can make for themselves at home,” he said.
“Government has been trying to keep this craft alive as I am making these items at School of Design Srinagar and many people have been coming here to know about this craft and even some are ready to learn it,” he added further.
He thanked the government for making efforts to keep traditional culture alive as he is working at Kashmir Haat in Srinagar and on Holidays, he has been training people who are interested in learning this art.
He said that the tradition of wearing shoes in Kashmir started with this Pulhoor. The Kashmiris were using “Pulhoor” (a slipper made of straw) instead of boot or a chappal made of leather, rubber or plastic.
They were widely used by the people of Kashmir in ancient times especially during harsh winters. The pulhoor was one of the traditional tools for dealing with the cold of Kashmir’s winter, like “kanger” and “pheran”.
Pulhoor was primarily used by people to protect their feet from snow, thorns and pebbles due to poverty and unavailability of modern foot wear, he said.