The art of Pashmina making wasn't just a job in Kashmir valley, but an inherited gift that passed through generations. As many as 25 people would work on one Pashmina shawl, starting from cleaning the raw wool, to finishing the final shawl or scarf. One activity that is the most apparent in a Pashmina shawl is embroidery. The art of embroidering a shawl started way back in the Mughal period and continues to awe strike onlookers till now. There are families which completely depend upon Pashmina, and as many as 4 people in one family know the art of thread embroidery locally known as Sozni Kari. One such family is the Wani family which is engaged in this artwork for six decades now. Their third-generation predecessor, young Tasleem, recently joined hands with Pashmina.com and we are really glad and honoured to have such a family of artisans with us who enjoyed enormous fame and respect, once upon a time in Kashmir. A young man with big dreams, Tasleem Arif is in his late 30's and has already done embroidery for 15 years. It was his grandfather who initiated the craft of doing needlework over Pashmina shawls in the family. Simultaneously, his father learnt and Tasleem spent his childhood watching both of them embroider masterpieces. Tasleem always had a keen interest in what his father and grandfather did. At the tender age of 16, Tasleem learnt the art completely and started working on his own pieces. Tasleem is well educated, he has passed his matriculation exams with flying colours, but he was always inclined towards embroidery. The work gave Tasleem acclaim and success at a young age, but little did he know that there would be a time when he would want to leave everything he enjoys. With the onset of the machine age, everything changed for Tasleem. He was forced to work on machines shawls which according to him "are hardly Pashmina". His wages continuously lowered as the maximum portion of profits would be taken by the money-making retailers and sellers. The current scenario has proven to be the worst for Tasleem. "I would never want my kids to do embroidery or anything related to Pashmina", says a disappointed Tasleem who earns a meagre Rs 200 a day upon which his wife and 3 kids survive. "I will send them to school and they will take up jobs in big companies".
Tasleem and Pashmina.com
Tasleem was absolutely fascinated by our working model. "Online is indeed a success", he exclaimed. Tasleem now gets handmade Pashmina shawls from us and hand embroiders them with all his heart and soul. Neither does Tasleem have to wait for payments, nor is he dissatisfied with the same. He gets payments immediately or monthly (as per agreements) and now wants his kids to work with us. "My kids will not only learn the true art of Pashmina, but ethics and humanity from your team," he says.