Govt honours 50 craftsmen with ‘Golden Hand Awards’
By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Government recently gave away “Golden Hand Awards” to fifty artisans in Kashmir to encourage the craftsmen to carry forward their traditional arts and crafts with more zeal and enthusiasm.
An official of the Handicrafts Department while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “The government is trying its best to revive the languishing crafts of the Valley. The handicrafts of Kashmir are famous across the world but the need of the hour is to preserve these.”
He said, “The handicrafts of Kashmir can be kept alive only by the artisans of the Valley. They have to be provided with the incentives and schemes to keep the traditional crafts alive.”
According to the data provided by the officials since 2018, a total of Rs. 17,20,000/- has been disbursed among 50 artisans (including 8 female artisans) along with mementos and certificates of appreciation who have done exceptionally well in their respective crafts for the year 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The awards have been given in the categories that include Sozni, Carpet, Papier Machie, Crewel and Chain Stitch. On August 27, the J&K government gave away “Golden Hand Awards” to fifty artisans in Kashmir.
In the year 2015 a total of 12 awards and an amount of Rs 3,50,000/ were given, in 2016 14 awards and an award money of Rs 5,00,000/ was given to the artisans, similarly in year 2017, thirteen awards and an amount of Rs 500000/- and in 2018, eleven awards and an amount of Rs 3,70,000/- were distributed among the deserving artisans. But this year awards were distributed among 50 artisans.
“The Central Government has announced new schemes and grant-in-aid for the artisans and in coming months many new things will come to fore,” the official added.
A craftsman while talking to this newspaper said, “If the government wants to preserve the traditional arts and carts of Kashmir it needs to reach out to the craftsmen at the ground level. Since 2019 our community has been facing lot of hardships as the outbreak of COVID-19 has hit us hard. A special financial package needs to be announced to help the poor artisans, who have been left to fend on their own.”
He said that there was a time when handicrafts used to provide employment to more than 80% Kashmiris but during the past few years the sector has lost its sheen as “artisans were ignored” by the rulers. “Encouragement and financial help are must if the government wants to keep the handicrafts sector alive in the Valley,” he added.