Padma Shri award will surely encourage Kashmir’s craftsmen : Ghulam Nabi

Srinagar, Jan 27 (UNI) The prestigious Padma Shri award would go a long way to encourage Kashmir’s craftsmen, said 72-year-old master woodcarver Ghulam Nabi Dar.

Dar was awarded Padma Shri for his outstanding work in traditional Kashmiri walnut wood carving.

Besides, Ghulam Nabi, the Government of India had announced Padma Shri award for Romalo Ram of Jammu and Kashmir on Republic day eve.

The master artisan in the wood carving craft, Dar over the last six decades has been the epitome of creativity and passion. He has been creating intricate designs and life size pieces all these years and still tries to bring novelty to his artifacts.

The carved walnut wood-work is among the most important crafts of Kashmir. The walnut wood carving is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Islamic Missionary Sheikh Hamza Makhdoom during the reign of Zainul Abdideen in the 15th century. The king promoted the art to improve the economy of craftsmen.

Hailing from Srinagar’s Safa Kadal locality in old City, the Padma Shri awardee Dar had to battle poverty at an early age and started working at a wood carving Karkhana ( workshop) when he was only ten.

“At the workshop I just learnt the basics . However, I used to work hard and practice all night to create new designs. It took me more than 20 years to learn ,” he said.

The Padma Shri awardee said that artisan, Abdul Aziz Bhat, who further enhanced his skills and it was here that he learnt the craft.

“However, Master Nooruddin’s contribution in my journey was the most important. If today I am at this stage it is because of him ,” Dar said.

In the 1970’s, he opened his workshop in Srinagar, but due to persistent financial issues, he decided to move out of the country. He returned back after his financial health improved.

Decades later, Ghulam Nabi is the most celebrated artisan and has been awarded a state and national award.

“The government recognition and support is very important and the Padma award will surely encourage craftsmen,” he said.

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