Mukhtar Ahmed was never really interested in Pashmina weaving, even though his grandfather, father, uncles and brother were associated with the same. Never did Mukhtar make an effort to learn the craft, because all he wanted to do was study. He was a topper in his class and his teachers were sure that Mukhtar had a bright future ahead. Little did anyone know that technology and machines will ruin an innocent life of its dreams and aspirations. The Introduction of Machines In the early 1990's, influential traders and money makers introduced power looms into the business of Pashmina. Where handmade shawls were produced one in a month, power looms could produce one in just 15 minutes. This way, only power looms were preferred to cater to the high demand in the west and even locally. Mukhtar's parents and hundreds of other artisans who worked with their hands lost their livelihoods and received just a few consignments of weaving shawls. Hence Mukhtar, in his early childhood had to quit studies and join his parents and brother to weave Pashmina, because that was the only skill he could learn at home without having to worry about paying fees that he would have to pay to a tuition or school. Mukhtar's dreams were shattered. When Mukhtar started work, his parents did not expect any excellence from him, because this work had been more or less forced on him. But as time passed, Mukhtar worked really hard and worked exactly with the same precision as his father or brother did. His father was so impressed that he gave Mukhtar a Pashmina shawl as a gift when his first consignment was over. When we asked Mukhtar how could he excel in an activity which he did not like at the first place, he said "Its peaceful" "I myself never realized how this art allured me towards itself. The first few months were tough, but as time passed, I could live with weaving at least a few inches of a shawl, mounted over a hand loom. I did not take any holidays, as Pashmina weaving became my job, my passion, my hobby and my peace. If I had an argument with someone, I would go to my loom and weave a few threads, till I was calm again. It was my safest place to hide, said Mukhtar, surprising us.
Mukhtar and Pashmina.com
Even though Mukhtar loved doing this work,. but earning well is as essential for him as for anyone else. Mukhtar is married, but doesn't have kids yet because he feels he cannot provide for them properly. He doesn't want their dreams to be shattered like his have been in the past. "Machines have looted us of our livelihood and happiness, as have influential traders and profit makers who take up all the profits in the supply chain and leave artisans almost empty handed. Mukhtar is absolutely in awe of our working model, where these is no supply chain, and as soon as the artisan is given a consignment, he is paid there and then. Artisans do not wit for months together to receive payments, but take their very well deserved and hard earned money at the perfect times.