People who trade and craft sometimes are not familiar with the distinctive brands / labels associated with these trades. Geographical indication (GI) is one of these marks. This is a sign used on products which have a specific origin or geographical location and which possess qualities / reputation which are due to that origin or locality. Any association of persons or producers created by or by virtue of the law or any act having the force of law can become a registered owner provided that its name is entered in the register of geographical indications as the registered owner of the requested GI. by them. Since the GI is linked to a locality / origin, it cannot be assigned or licensed to a third party or not belonging to the group of authorized producers. To function as a GI, it must identify a product as originating in a given place. This identity of the producer and this customer guarantee make it possible to avoid misleading customers, falsification / adulteration of products and unfair competition. It allows producers to differentiate their variety of products from other competing products, helps to create their own reputation and goodwill. GI. the products facilitate the conservation of cultural heritage and national and regional identity. Kashmir saffron became the last product from Jammu and Kashmir to achieve GI certification (5/2020), on 8e a, the other seven products are Kashmiri Pashmina, Kashmir Sozni Craft, Kashmir Shawl, Kashmir Paper Machie, Kashmir Walnut Carving, Kashmir Khatamband and Kashmir Hand Knotted Carpet. The J&K government switched to GI in 2008 and started using it in 2010.

In Jammu and Kashmir, an autonomous institute of the Handicrafts Development Institute in Bagh-e-Ali Mardan Khan, Nowshera, Srinagar, created in 2/2004, facilitates, among other things, the agreement of geographical marks . The velvety touch and the queen allure of Kashmir pashmina are at the head of the craft trade. Kashmir Pashmina has been registered under the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 of India under the Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights World Trade Organization (15-4-1994). Pashmina shawls have to pass various tests in CDI Nowshera’s state-of-the-art laboratory. Shawls that pass quality control parameters are geographically indexed and labeled correctly to inform buyers that the product is genuine, handcrafted Kashmiri pashmina. GI specifies that it is (i) composed of 100% fibers with a fineness of less than 16 microns and obtained from the under-fleece of the mountain goat “ Capra Hiracus ”, (ii) hand-spun hand on a traditional “ charkha ” wheel (Yeinder in Kashmir) and (iii) a fabric hand woven by Kashmir artisans. The registration with the IG, the Chennai Tamil Nadu register and the empanelment with the company Tahafuz are the prerequisites for obtaining the IG. The eight-digit 2.5cm alphanumeric secure fusion authentication label issued at checkout is used for certification of genuine Kashmir pashmina. It is not removable after installation, tamper-proof / washable / dry and easily verified. Each tag has visible information readable under ultraviolet light and secret information containing a unique number for tracking and recording. It is inimitable with the invisible micro-tangent nanoparticles detectable under infrared light, which can be verified on www. Pashmina from Kashmir. There is less chance of GI marked goods going through different hands / processes / places etc before becoming salable unlike non-GI products which can mix and mix never to be identified and retrieved. Mr. Rouf Ahmad Qureshi of Narwara Srinagar, then President of the Union of Kashmir Pashmina Karigar, said that he had been returned his lost pashmina shawl costing no less than Rs 50,000 / after six months due to the GI mark.

It is six times thinner than human hair with three times the insulating power of alpaca wool in addition to its incredible health benefits. All the phases, from raw fiber to salable fabric, carried out manually make it a limited, rare, expensive and luxurious fabric in the world. Most of the products are printed in various designs and patterns with the quaint beauty of Kashmir and the fascinating needlework (Sozni Kar) in silk or cotton thread, making it a globally resplendent work of art. known. Kani Jama involving the highest weaving technique and a lot of dedication to the sight is the rarest of Kashmir Pashmina’s rare items. In the state of progress of industrialization underway to exploit the world of robotics and artificial intelligence, this trade continues to retain its rightful place. However, with the introduction of motorization and mechanization into commerce by wild capitalism, more than 4 lakh (unofficially) of people would be out of work. Local artisans claim that many influential traders have introduced spinning machines and power looms despite their use being banned. Indeed, many electric looms, mainly located in industrial areas, intended for the production of counting flywheels, in fact produce pashmina shawls clandestinely. After the fabric is ready, carbonized acid is sprinkled on it, which greatly affects its quality and lifespan. Power looms follow a practice of using nylon with pashmina, which is contrary to the traditional values ​​of this craft. This handcraft, one of the oldest legends and legacy of Kashmir craftsmanship, is threatened by its imitations as the high-priced handmade fabric loses market to its cheap, machine-made namesake. Laws made to protect the genuine pashmina shawl are not followed and the competing machine is giving the original handmade pashmina a chance for its money. The lakhs of the state artisans, directly or indirectly associated and dependent on this trade, are miserable because they earn minimal wages despite long and continuous working hours. Sedentary work also affected their health, making it difficult to make ends meet. Successive governments have done very little to promote this trade.

In addition, faux pashmina gives a bad name to the original, handcrafted Kashmiri pashmina which is renowned for its superior quality. Although the running of the machines is unstoppable, but the impurities in things, flaws in size and fake workmanship should have been preserved and the pristine purity and glory of the original Kashmir shawl should be confirmed. The falsification of wool and protruding machine-made shawls brought discredit on the people and the loss of the trade. In addition, the supply of shawls not conforming to the design ordered has cast an insult on the craft disrupting the trade-in value with reduction or withholding of supply orders. The threat of fake handicrafts by miser must be stopped to prevent this industry from being vilified. This 600-year-old craft has remained the crowning glory of Jammu and Kashmir art and culture. The departments / companies concerned must expand and activate their activities to revive this trade which once provided a major source of livelihood for the populations and considerable income for the government. In addition, the eruption of the pandemic novel Covid-19 (12/2019) which forced the largest mass lockdown / quarantine in human history, the loss of salaried jobs and manpower to millions of people due to total or partial closures of workplaces, there is a pre-caryah imploring to rejuvenate the trade to allay the unemployment problem. Effective steps can be taken to calm bleeding hearts / trembling hands and support broken humanity. Reasonable cash help and some advice / protection will surely work wonders.

The author is a former senior audit executive and consultant to the AG office in Srinagar.

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