With his one little gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lit up hopes of hundreds of carpets makers of Kashmir, who believe his gifting a silk rug to a French dignitary will give a much needed boost to the local industry.
Modi's gifting a hand-made Kashmiri silk carpet to the president of the French national Assembly during his current visit to the European nation has not lost on the local rugmakers, who see the act virtually as an advert.
Shahnawaz Ahmad Sofi, a carpet unit holder, said the move was great and may stem the decline in carpetmakers fate in Kashmir.
"We have seen the downfall of Kashmiri carpets in past decades but steps like these will give a boost to the carpet industry," Sofi told PTI.
"If things like these happen at international level, obviously it will encourage the weavers. It was a royal Taj designed carpet which the PM gifted. It is a very famous design and only master artisans of silk carpets in Kashmir can make this design," he added.
Mohd Rafiq, a master artisan, said he was thankful to the Prime Minister for promoting the Kashmiri carpet at global level.
"We are very thankful to the PM that he advertised Kashmiri carpet at international level. Many people in different countries don't know about the Kashmiri carpet but with Modiji gifting such carpet, they get to know about our products," Rafiq said.
He said it takes crores of rupees to build a brand but the Prime Minister's little gesture at such a big stage will give the industry a fillip worth that money.
"It can take many years for people to know about Kashmiri carpets through advertisements but with this one step, Modiji has advertised Kashmiri carpets on a huge platform. We are very happy," he said.
Director Handicraft Mahmood Shah said the Prime Minister has always promoted Kashmir handicrafts through his attire.
"You have seen him donning shawl and Kani specimens. During his last visit to Sweden, he gifted a GI-certified shawl in a papier mache box to the President of Sweden. In his recent visit to the US too, he gifted papier mache boxes. And this time he gifted the silk carpet from Kashmir.
"It is a welcome step and great encouragement for our artisans. This gives us a kind of international visibility and helps us not only promote the craft but also the craftsmen," Shah said.
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