Kashmir-based artisan Maqbool Ahmad Dar is the first artisan from the valley who prepared the first carpet with a ‘National Flag’ design with the aim to uplift his art.
Dar who hails from Ashtangoo village of Bandipora district left his school due to a financial crisis and decided to become a carpet artisan at an early age. “I left school after seven standards as my family was struggling due to the financial crisis. Therefore, at an early age, I decided to become a carpet artisan. It took me one year to learn the skills. My maternal uncle helped me to learn the basics of carpet weaving,”.
Twenty-five years ago, Maqbool was weaving carpets to earn their livelihood and he was very much satisfied with his work. As COVID-19 hits badly in Kashmir, it affected Maqbool’s business also.
“After unprecedented COVID hit the valley, it affected my business. During that time, the tourism industry was in bad shape. The situation was so unpleasant that my family was struggling for basic food,” Artisan said.
Dar further said as his business was hit by COVID badly, instead of losing hope he decided to be creative and prepared something unique and different carpet with the national flag.
“I got an idea to prepare a unique and different carpet with a national flag design. It is a symbol of patriotism and love towards the nation that induced me to weave the Indian tricolour (Tiranga) on a carpet,” he added.
Kashmiri art, especially carpet weaving is famous across the globe and has a tremendous market at national and international levels.
People belonging to the carpet industry including weavers, sellers and dealers have their own names and fame in the past. They were always getting good responses from foreign customers on a large scale.
But unfortunately in the last few years, the carpet industry hits badly due to a recession in the international market which resulted in the artisan community suffering a lot and Maqbool Ahmad dar is one of them.
Dar said the Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT) helped him for flourishing in business.
He also said that as he was the first artisan to make something like this for the first time so people of the valley also appreciated his creativity.
“No one from the valley has made this before. I got many appreciation and suggestions. I made this to promote the Kashmiri carpet,” he said.
In the past, more than 70 per cent of people were in this industry now hardly any people are left in this profession, so it needs to be promoted, he said.
Zubair Ahmad, a Director Indian institute of carpet technology, “Yes we have a role in Maqbool Ahmad Dar’s work. But he himself came to us and said he wanted to make a tricolour design carpet. It is my notice that a manufacturing company will also sign MOU with Dar in the coming days so that they will get regular work from Dar. And this will also help him to flourish in his business. “