Srinagar man breathes life into Kashmiri art through innovations

Srinagar: A man from Srinagar is breathing a new life into Kashmiri traditional art through his innovative approach.

Tariq Ahmad Zargar, 55, from Karanagar, has introduced groundbreaking products in Kashmir’s traditional art and handicrafts sector, incorporating new technologies to enhance their production and appeal.

Speaking to KNO, Zargar said that after working for around 30 years in a digital marketing company in Dubai, he returned to contribute to an art form cherished outside Kashmir. “I started with a few products that included modest value additions, which were part of broader initiatives to revitalize and promote Kashmir’s rich craft heritage,” he said.

Using new 3D technology with lasers, Tariq has focused on heritage items and many other traditional products but with a modern twist. During the initial stages, Zargar said he faced difficulties with new designs, shapes, and colours, but after continuous efforts, he successfully developed many innovative items.

Despite having no family background in Kashmir arts, Tariq had a keen interest in designing and used to create things on his own. “One must pursue what makes them happy and adds value to their lives and others,” he said.

He encourages youth not to solely seek government jobs but to try to do something independently.

Currently, Zargar is generating employment for hundreds of people. Around 30 individuals, including engineers and well-qualified youth, work directly under him, while dozens benefit indirectly. His products are now being exported to the UK, US, and Dubai, and he has launched a website, Kashmers.com, where his products are sold online.

His new product line includes shawls and papier-mâché items featuring traditional motifs like Chinar leaves, flowers, birds, and Islamic calligraphy. “We aim to enthrall our customers with handcrafted goods that are both classic and contemporary, featuring distinctive designs and colours, while ensuring eco-friendly and sustainable packaging,” he said.

“Many traditional items unique to Kashmir need to be preserved and enhanced, and it is everyone’s duty to take care of them and add value,” Zargar added.

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