Umaisar Gull Ganie
Kulgam, Mar 17: An educated youth from south Kashmir’s Kulgam, after failing to secure a job, finally joined his family’s decades-old work of running a watermill, locally known as ‘Aab-e-Gratte’.
This mill, now obsolete, has been running in Kashmir for centuries and is powered by fast-flowing water channeled from streams that turn the heavy grindstones, producing pure flour.
Showkat Ahmad Padder, a resident of Bathipora Nehama hamlet of Kulgam, is pursuing Masters in Political Science.
Showkat said he failed to get any job amid rising unemployment. “So, I decided to operate the watermill that was being run by my family for decades. This way I will keep the tradition alive and also earn some money whatever it is,” he said.
Being jobless, I would have slipped into depression, but I decided to operate the watermill to earn a livelihood, he said.
His neighbour, Ghulam Qadir Padder, who is also operating the ‘Gratte’ for decades, said it is environment-friendly but largely forgotten due to rapid industrialisation and technology. He said ‘Aab-e-Gratte’ is rapidly losing the demand to the modern mills.
Qadir said a ‘Gratte’ owner had a better social status in the village as the family could afford both food grains and earn money as a service charge on grinding. Such traditional watermills are rare now, he said.
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