Srinagar, Feb 6: Ghulam Rasool Sofi, aged 60, stands as the final bastion of a dying craft.
Born into a lineage of artisans, he has dedicated his life to this handiwork that defines Kashmir’s cultural heritage. However, as machines encroach upon tradition, Sofi’s artistry faces an uncertain future.
Talking to a news agency, he explained the decline of his beloved crafts saying, “I challenge there will be no one like me in the whole of Kashmir skilled in this art.”
“My work lands in many countries like Spain and America,” says Sofi, adding that the essence of his handiwork cannot be replicated by mechanized processes.
Sofi’s journey as an artisan has been marked by collaboration with esteemed personalities like Jamal Siraj. Together, they once reaped the rewards of their labor, earning a handsome income for their exceptional craftsmanship. However, the advent of mass-produced goods has eroded the demand for handmade artifacts, taking Sofi’s livelihood into uncertainty.
“I appeal to the government to stop the onslaught of machine work, which is the main cause of our art’s demise. I fear that without intervention, the rich legacy of Kashmir’s artisanal traditions will fade into obscurity, leaving behind a cultural art to decline,” he added.
Through imparting his knowledge to eager learners, he endeavors to keep the flame of tradition ablaze for generations to come. As the last stable worker in his trade.
Sofi’s plea for the preservation of handcrafted traditions echoes across the valleys, urging stakeholders to heed the call before it’s too late. (KNO)
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