Rehan Qayoom Mir
Srinagar, Jan 9: The generations-old craft of Sangh Tarashi in Kashmir is fading away, worrying the artisans about their future.
Sangh Tarashi, a delicate form of wirework that embodies the essence of Kashmiri craftsmanship, is witnessing a decline without the necessary handholding and raw material.
The practice of stone carving started some 100 years ago and became a cultural heritage. Stones were extracted at designated sites after paying royalty to the government. But the government put an embargo on stone extraction in 2016.
The craft is gradually fading away with artisans struggling amidst the absence of a robust support system.
Gulam Nabi Dar of Sampora in Pampore, said, “it takes us about 2 to 3 hours to craft a single stone. It is all based on the craftsmanship of the individual.”
This specially crafted stone is used in making Hamam as well as other things in Kashmir.
“In the past, our work was at its peak. But as time passed, the demand decreased and our work suffered a lot. Due to the ban on stones, our work also suffers” he said adding, due to outsider materials like tile and other stuff, their work suffered further.
He urged the government to take interest in the craft and save it.
“It becomes very difficult for us to continue the traditional craft as we have to get stones from Sadarkote, Ladoo and other places. We have only old craftsmen and no young people are reluctant to take up the craft,” he added.
Another artisan said they would get government projects but not now. “The traditional stone-crafted work is beautiful, and when installed in a house or wall it also gives shine and is very strong as compared to the stones which are exported from outside J&K,” he added.
“We would like to request the government to pay attention to our plight and help us improve our work,” he said.
The ban of stones carving from mountains and procuring Rajasthani stones for Hamam, according to him, has declined the trade.