Wood Carving is the Soul of Kashmir Handicrafts: Mudasir Muran
Young and energetic Mudasir Muran is the most prominent name when it comes to world famous wood carving sector of Kashmir .He is arts & craft entrepreneur with legacy of 200 years based in srinagar kashmir. Under Paradise Wood House , Prominent showroom of Wood carving products they make traditional contemporary handmade high end walnut wood furniture and luxurious interior Decors .In an exclusive interview with the News Kashmir, He talks with Farzana Mumtaz and Rameez Makhdoomi.
Tell us a bit about your journey?
Our family has a journey of 200 years in the Wood carving sector . I started myself in 2005. We had the manufacturing unit in home and used to get motivated on seeing customers and artisans who worked under my Father and Uncle. In 2005, I went to Goa and got lot of exposure and realized how much we were exploited by capitalists. I did buisness there with cousin for two years in Goa but it failed as my cousin had less patience. I then joined private sector like Pharma but came back quickly to my wood carving roots . I then started selling wholesale our wood carving products and went for sometime to Gujarat . You have to remember Traders that used to purchase from me often used to exploit in wrong way by giving very less rate. How did Paradise wood House happen?After much experience I decided to give our world class wood carving products a physical showroom . It was not easy that a son of Artisan would go to start his own wood carving store of Walnut carving products. I had no help from Government or from any body . Going to Lethpora in 2012 , at that time with few shops now I have come a long way to be the owner of biggest wood carving products made of Walnut works .How did covid impact your business?
The Coronavirus waves brought our buisness to zero and it simply destroyed our buisness .It will take a lot of time to emerge from its after shocks.
What about recent Gulf investment summit in which you too were seen promoting your products, are these events fruitful ?
Being an entrepreneur in wood carving sector of Walnut products, I would like to say that investment summits or any events act as great source of promotion for our products . The Government should conduct more such events as they provide good platform for our Handicrafts to get highlighted thus promoting the business .
The likely impacts of ongoing good tourist arrivals on your buisness ?The high number of tourist arrivals in Kashmir are going to lift every buisness directly or indirectly. Be we the Handicrafts buisness owners or the artisans and the transport sector. It also helps the freight and courier sector. The ripple effects of tourism are such that it improves the health of overall economy by lifting all the sectors directly and indirectly. Tourism season has been good so far and last year too we had good tourism towards ending months.
What are main changes you would like to see ?We would like to see more Government support . We are urging that let us give our airports a makeover so that it becomes epicenter of every craft of Kashmir be it wood carving or pashmina or Paper Mache or any crafts . Look how Mumbai airport after makeover is acting as great platform for Handicrafts of that region .Similarly, Government often gives rewards and awards to undeserving as their is lot of favouritsm in it . The grassroots artisans and entrepreneurs like us should be encouraged which is not being done .A bit about Speciality of Wood Carving Craft ?Wood Carving is the basic Handicraft of Kashmir, flourishing since times of Sultan Zainul Abadeen . Wood carving promotion has since ages been thought as main craft that could promote economy of Kashmir. Unfortunately it is now dying art along with carpet . My Uncle is the lone surviving artisan of many Wood carving Walnut works and I am the lone entrepreneur . We make super luxury products of Wood with perfection ranging in price from lacs to millions. Nothing can match excellence of Wood carving products made of Walnut wood in Kashmir .
What is your market?The entire country of India is our big market but lot of fake products are hurting us . A dining table of wood carving takes years to complete and also beds take months together, but products made within days of common wood by carpenters should not be sold in name of wood carving as that is carpentry not wood carving .A compact GI tagging for all wood carving products is need of the hour .
What you want from the Government?The artisans are living a poor life without attention from the Government as there sufferings in recent years have been neglected . We as wood carving artisans, entrepreneurs have never got due awards , rewards or platform from the Government. Not a single state award to our historic wood carving related family by the Government so far . The Government needs to uplift us by giving us due of our heritage and talent .
How much important role you see of Handicrafts Department?Handicrafts Department role is paramount. They did craft Safari tour which is worth appreciative. But the Department has been selective not encouraging grassroots voices Iike us be it the granting of awards or taking us to exposure trips .A lot of favoritism has hurt the genuine Handicrafts artisans and entrepreneurs of Kashmir.