Craftsmen decry lack of govt support
ISLAMABAD, July 11: Though weaving carpets, rugs, shawls etc., has been part of our culture for thousands of years, the profession is fast vanishing due to lack of government support to the craftsmen.
This was stated by craftsmen participating in a master artisans training workshop at Lok Virsa, Shakaparian, on Wednesday.
Talking to Dawn, they said the government should promote their work at the national and international levels and extend financial assistance to them as the new generation was abandoning the profession.
As many as 28 craftsmen in different specialised fields are participating in the workshop. They were seen busy in getting training from experts and designers in the morning and then demonstrating their skills at the display pavilions adjacent to the open-air theatre.
A large number of people visiting the display centres praised the creativity of the artisans coming from remote and far-flung areas of the country.
Prominent among the weavers is Ms Pari, a 70-year-old craftswoman in traditional rug weaving from Badin, Sindh. Her family has been linked with the profession for centuries.
“I don’t know anything except weaving but, unfortunately, girls are no more interested in this profession,” she said.
Another artisan is Haleema from Khairpur Mir’s. She has been practicing the art of weaving from the very early age.
Mohammad Qasim, who has been working on Khaddi (handloom), said they used sheep and camel wool to prepare thread.
Amanullah from Khairpur said: “Colours are extracted from leaves, fruits and grass and then used for the preparation of Khes, which can be sold for Rs15,000 to Rs20,000.
However, we hardly find a buyer.”
Qasim said foreigners working with oil companies in Balochistan and Sindh buy products made from animal hair with natural colours.
“Hameed Akhoon of a private company arranged a training workshop in Bhit Shah and trained us on how natural colours should be used,” he said. Amanullah said the ministry of
culture had been paying Rs36,000 annually to some craftsmen but it was not enough.
Money should be paid to all the craftspeople, he added.
Shah Behram, an artisan from Khyber Pakthunkhwa, is a master craftsman in Taghar weaving, a traditional woolen rug from Dera Ismail Khan. His father was also an accomplished master craftsman who also received the presidential Pride of Performance Award.