Young, talented and good looking, Omar is the youngest of our artisans who can embroider Pashmina shawls in the finest way. He is the youngest artisan in a small group of people who work in a dim lit matchbox sized room. Eben if his age is just 28, but his embroidery matches with that of the artisans who are double his age. That is because he had revered and loved Pashmina embroidery styles since he was 10. Omar's father Bashir Ahmed, was a very well known embroidery artisan some decades back. He was known to invent new embroidery styles and ways that would make it easier for artisans to work. Everyone knew him in this quaint village of Budgam district, and hence his son got the exposure at an early age. When Omar used to see the respect and fame his father enjoyed during his working days, he would cherish it and wait desperately for the day when he would enjoy the same. Little did he know that he and his team of exceptionally skillful artisans would be requesting the government every time about a hike in payments. Omar was a studious person. Even when he wanted to do embroidery all his life, but he never quit studies as his other classmates did.His teachers too never wanted him to quit, and even asked his father to not worry about the school fees, as they would help him pay the same. He continued studying till he was 19 years old. But then his father couldn't continue supporting his family because of old age and illness. Hence, Omar had to tread the path of his friends, quit studies and start working on Pashminas as an embroiderer - full time. Omar was lucky that he already new the craft and did not have to spend time learning it. He started with a Jaalidaar Pashmina shawl and since then has worked over every type of embroidered shawls that he received. Omar is not at all content with his work, which he loved once, but wants the Government to atleast increase the artisans payments to an amount which would be enough to take care of his family of 6. "This work is painstaking. It takes huge efforts to even embroider one line of simple floral designs. It takes us sometimes 6 months to complete a shawl and sometimes years together. We spend 8-10 hours in a day to embroider Pashmina and that has even proved to be detrimental to our health. Our only wish is that our government helps us, and increases our compensation to an amount through which we wouldn't live in dilapidated conditions", Omar says.
Omar and Pashmina.com
When Omar came to know about our working model of fair trade practices, which didn't involve any middlemen and artisans received instant payments enough for their needs, he was overwhelmed. Omar wants to continue with us forever and wants more such organisations to rise and give artisans the respect and reverence they deserve.