News Kashmir Exclusive
Brands and items represent a nation on global radar. Despite volatile situation Kashmir has been known for producing great crafts as Kashmiri Handicrafts holds a rich history of craftsmanship and the residents of this valley have skillfully nurtured their cultural heritage. But over the time fake products being sold in the name of Kashmiri handicrafts has ruined the image of Brand Kashmir. Even the recent controversy revolving around Khyber Milk ruined the reputation of Kashmir’s Corporate and branding sector. The Health and Medical Education Department, in its order No HD/Legal/Drug/MR-56/2016 dated 06-04-2016 had ordered that no milk or milk product of the company be available for human consumption till these products are declared safe by a referral laboratory in Kolkata.
One cannot reflect on this issue without having a glance of golden legacy.Pandit Anand Koul, a noted writer giving an account of the development of these crafts writes, “Zain-ul-Abidin turned Kashmir into a smiling garden of industry inculcating in the hearts of the people sane conceptions of labour and life and also implanting in their minds the germs of real progress. He introduced correct measures and weights and made artisans and traders take solemn oaths (which in those halcyon days one could not easily break) not to kill their golden goose by cheating and swindling. He thus promoted commercial morality and integrity and industrial righteousness-qualities which constitute the backbone of a people’s credit and reputation. It was through these virtues that the Kashmiris successfully carried on shawl and other trades at a period when Kashmir was an isolated country and communications with outside world were very difficult.”
Lateef Ahmad , an expert voice states –“Handicrafts items fetch good foreign exchange revenue to the Jammu and Kashmir and over five lakh persons are engaged in handicrafts and handloom sectors the state. Painfully enough, the issue of fake craft products has been taken seriously by the government and only few solutions to this problem have also been proposed.
Expert voices have been demanding that GI registration of handicrafts has already helped many states. Tamil Nadu has the third largest number of registered GIs for handicrafts and handlooms after Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. According to these voices the need of hour is to bring more Kashmiri crafts under GI. Once GI registration is received for all major handicraft products, it will help to build up “brand Kashmir” of handicrafts across globe.
On the otherhand recent controversy in which the government has issued orders for implementing the judgment of Judicial Magistrate Budgam and ordered Controller Drug and Food Control Organisation to “remove milk and milk products manufactured by Khyber Agro Farms Private Limited ‘immediately’ has also raised many questions on the practices adopted by the corporate houses of Kashmir.”
Be it the issue of fake items sold in name of Kashmiri Handicrafts or the Khyber Milk controversy of recent times serious questions are being raised about business culture of Kashmir and amid all this Brand Kashmir is taking a hit.