The hands behind an ethereal Pashmina shawl often go unnoticed. Even though the entire world reveres and cherishes a single Pashmina wrap, but the actual makers of it never get to see the fame or profits associated with it. Or we can say that Pashmina makers never experience fair trade and ethical practices carried out by the sellers of Pashmina. One such artisan, who was lovingly called a magician based on his embroidery styles, is Ghulam Nadeem Malik. Nadeem was born into a family of a labourer. His father was a carpenter as well as a mason. But adversity struck when he had an accident at a construction site that paralyzed his right side, and the days of hardship had just begun for the family. Nadeem was the youngest of all siblings, just 9 at that time. But this event changed his life completely and he went from adolescence to maturity in days. For the next 5-6 years, it was Nadeem's wife who survived the family by spinning Pashmina yarn and simultaneously sent her son to his uncles to learn embroidery. Nadeem had never been interested in Pashmina making or embroidery since childhood, but his 3 brothers were into this since their teenage. Willingly or unwillingly, Nadeem started learning embroidery from his uncles and because of his hard work and smart approach towards everyday activities, Nadeem became quite proficient in just some years. He was as thankful to his uncles as they were proud of him. Nadeem was now completely indulged in embroidery work and his specialization was Pashmina. It has been over 10 years since Nadeem started working with a small group of people, who all belong to close neighbourhoods. But none of them is quite satisfied with the wages paid to them. Some have children to take care of, others have aged parents who are financially dependent on them, and there are those too who have families of young orphaned sisters and brothers to nurture. But when needs are compared to wages, it is nowhere close to being enough. When we talked to Nadeem, we felt the pain in his voice. It has been ages since his father got paralyzed and his mother worked day and night to survive the family. She does so even now. But after the introduction of power looms, she hardly gets 2 or 3 shawls to spin, which fetches her a meagre amount of money for the year. The same is the case with Nadeem and his uncles. The machine revolution has proven to be detrimental to the entire family. "It was already hard to survive, but we were managing", but machine ruined it all," said a hopeless Nadeem, who has parents, three sisters and a brother to take of.
Pashmina.com and Nadeem.
When we met Nadeem, we saw an ocean of talent hidden among elderly men. His embroidery patterns were so neat and fine and his designs could easily be picked from amongst so many. We discovered the magic in his hands, so we invited him to work with us. Our handmade shawls bought a smile to his face as it was after so many years that he had felt the softness of handmade again. Nadeem is one of our finest embroidery artisans, and we are proud to have him with us.