History of Weaving in Kashmir

History of Weaving in Kashmir

The State of Jammu and Kashmir is extremely rich in its art and culture. Being known not only for its beauty but also for its traditional heritage. The craft that has been practiced here for hundreds of years brims with many stories. Kashmiri Shawls and Carpets are world famous. What makes them unique is its intricate designs and detailed needle work. It has given livelihood to many of people living here since ages. But how it all got started? Let’s go back to the era and turn the pages of history to find out.
King Zain-ul-Abidin (A.D. 1420-70), in the late 15th century introduced the art of weaving in the Kashmir Valley. He was also called the Akbar of Kashmir by the historians. The art of weaving was imported from Persia which was then the Asia’s capital of high art. During the time of the Mughals, there was the immense flourishment of the craft and continued throughout the Afghan and Sikh rules.
There were two innovative techniques that were introduced during this time. One was the Tapestry technique and another was the Amli or Needle Work. The former was introduced by the Western textile historians. It was quite similar to some respect with technique traditionally employed in Europe for Tapestry weaving. The Tapestry technique was a bit slow and laborious and it demanded a very high degree of specialization.

History of Weaving in Kashmir

The Amli or Needle work was introduced at the beginning of the 19th century by an Armenian named Khwaja Yusu. It was entirely ornamented with the needle on a plain woven ground. A cloth was first placed on a plank and rubbed with a piece of Agate or Carnelian. For the needle-work, stem stitches are used. Needle-worked shawls were made throughout this period and were very popular.

History of Weaving in Kashmir
Then with the arrival of British in the same century, there was certain utilitarianism and commercialization. The Transportation and packaging of luxurious squares of fabric was made easy. They were considered fashion statements as they were much more expensive than the regular silk and cotton fabrics. Gradually, they opened factories in Kashmir and production got started. The woven products and Kashmiri carpets and shawls were commercialized and attracted a lot of eyes from all over the world.
In 1989, valley was engulfed in turmoil. The ancient craft of weaving fell into troubled times. Export orders and tourism hit an all time low. Two and a half decades later, things got better. The ancient craft was again revived.
But in the age modernization, people tend to shift towards the machinery products; very few are left who knows the importance of handcrafted stuffs. As they say beauty lies in the detailed work. So let’s cherish the amazing craftsmanship of Kashmir and save it from dying.

Meet the “All Ladakhi” Women’s Ice Hockey Team of India

Meet the “All Ladakhi” Women’s Ice Hockey Team of India

When winter visits Ladakh, it brings energy and joy with it. Do you know what is the most loving thing for Ladakhis to do in winters? Is is playing Ice Hockey. Children in regions like Gupuks, Karzoo and outside Leh, where ponds and lakes freeze to form a mini skating rink, take to ice hockey with much enthusiasm and passion.

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

Do you know that India’s Women Ice Hockey Team comes entirely from Ladakh?

Yes, though lesser known, India has one of the strongest women ice hockey teams, who belong entirely to the beautiful valley of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. With their utter passion and sheer hard work, the team has come a long way in the popular affairs of international sports.

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

Let us take you down to their roller coaster ride to success and the stature they have achieved today!

Short and Crisp- Origin of Ice hockey in Ladakh

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

Ice hockey was introduced to Ladakh in one of the most uncommon way. It was in 1970’s that a local, who was enlisted with army during the time, found a pair of bladed skates in the storage. And soon, the curious and passionate Ladakhis were onto ice hockey. Using some conventional field balls and hockey sticks, the first local tournament was held in 1972.

Neither the Ladakh Winter Sports Club and the teams that were formed to play ice hockey knew the professional rules of the game. In some cases the goalkeeper would wear cricket batting pads as protective gears. It was in only in 2006 that the authorities made it necessary to wear proper head gears.

With emerging craze of the game and interest of locals, local teams began to be formed by the end of 1980’s.

The Problem of Gender

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

Despite the fact that Ladakh enjoys a higher percentage of gender equality as compared to other parts of India, the Ladakhi women were yet not immune from the idea of femininity. They were initially reduced to the more feminine sport, i.e., figure skating.

Disket Angmo, who is now the official team spokesperson and defence player of India’s women Ice Hockey team, began her career as a figure skater. She, along with other girls would skate during the intervals between men ice hockey matches.

The Initial Struggle

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

“There is no better teacher than adversity”. -Malcolm X

Most of the women players of ice hockey team began as figure skaters and borrowed hockey equipment to try their hand at the game. And since most of the players of Men Ice hockey team of India are from Ladakh, skaters and passionate women like Disket were motivated to want to represent India one day.

The dream was not far from being achieved with such positive and challenging attitude. Therefore, in 2008, the Ladakh Winter Sports Club addressed the applaud able transition of women from skaters to players and gave them a chance to prove their worth introducing them into the professional game. It took five years to form a strong team, due to lack of funds and resources to practice, before the Ice Hockey Association of India could conduct its first National Championship in 2013.

A Cheer to Self- Driven Women

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

With time the number of women player grew and seeing the affirmed, self- driven and motivated women ice hockey players, the Ice Hockey Association of India decided to send the women’s team for the Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) Challenge Cup of Asia in Taipei 2016. The training for the match took place at Iskate, Ambience Mall, Gurugram.

Iskate is barely 1/4th size of the international ice hockey arena. The players could only hone their basic skills at the ring. They lost the Challenge Cup.

Despite the barriers that came in the form of lack of practice and resources, the team kept struggling and never gave up hope.

The Happy Tears of Success

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

It is to learn from our women ice hockey players that defeat can sometimes work wonders for us. It depends on us that whether we learn from it or cry over it!

Soon, thanks to the team’s hard work and fund generated by crowd funding, Women Ice Hockey Team got a chance to play at the seven-nation Challenge Cup of Asia 2017.

In this Challenge Cup, the team secured two wins. One in their second match with Philippines (4-3) and second in their last, with Malaysia (5-4).

As soon as the whistle blew and marked the win of Indian team, the joy among players was witnessed by everyone in the arena. The tears of joy rolled down their cheeks as the national anthem played on speakers. The silence in the arena during the anthem was evident of their hard work and the fruit they had received after all these years. Even the referees had tears in their eyes, the moment was blissful.

Continuous Winnings

Ladakh, Women Ice Hockey, All Ladakhi Women Ice Hockey Team of India

This is the story of our brave Women Ice Hockey Team of India. They marked the biggest victory in the history of women ice hockey by winning at Asia’s largest ice hockey tournament. Their win caught the eye of international media and were highly praised by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his visit to India in 2018.

Later in 2018, Hayley Wickenheiser, the four-time ice hockey Olympic gold medalist from Canada, visited the team and offered IHAI to bring the team for a Hockey Coaching program in Canada and to participate in WICKFEST – Wickenheiser Female World Hockey Festival in Calgary.

The Women’s team went for the match and won one of the four exhibition matches. Moreover, the experience and the training the team went through while their visit was beyond any win.

The enthusiasm these women bring to the game of ice hockey is incredible. A big applause for their wins, falls and struggle that has brought them to the stage of popularity and perfection.

Recently, the Women Ice Hockey Team of India has played at the 8th IHAI National Ice Hockey Championship that began on 16th January and ended on 25th January, 2019 at Karzoo Rink, Leh, Jammu & Kashmir. It’s time for more achievements!

Sports Stars Of Kashmir

Sports Stars Of Kashmir

“Success doesn’t just come and find you, you have to go out and get it”
Our sports champions in Kashmir have always been a source of inspiration. They have left no stone unturned to achieve the position they are in. For our J&K state, 2018 has been a great year and the sport’s history of the valley is getting richer day by day. Jammu and Kashmir has produced many champions in the realm of sports who have made the entire nation proud of them. Let us look how the New Year has started for our valley and what all achievements we have in the very first month of 2019:

Bilal Ahmad Dar

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Bilal Ahmad Dar, a teen cyclist won a silver medal in the 3km individual pursuit event at the Junior Asian Track Cycling Championship in Indonesia. Last year also, he had set a national record in the individual pursuit 3-km under-18 category during an event in June last year. Bilal is a resident of Chek-i-Kawoosa, Budgam district. He is known for cycling achievements and representing his country was his utmost priority in international events. He said, “I want to represent the country in more international events and win medals. I hope people start taking the sport of cycling more seriously”. He definitely made our country proud.

Bavleen Kaur

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Our state won 6 medals in total at the Khelo India Youth Games and guess what, 5 (three gold and two silver medals) out of 6 medals belonged to Ms. Bavleen Kaur, a 16 year old gymnast from Jammu and Kashmir. and won She is a trainee of Krupali Patel Singh and Sp Singh and gave credit of her success to her coaches. “What makes this win even more special for me is the happiness I was able to give my coaches who have always helped me grow despite the lack of adequate training facilities and equipment back home in Jammu and Kashmir”, she said. Balveen is a girl who always aims higher and she is now looking forward to represent the country at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Malaikah Gul Dev

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Malaikah made her victory by winning a Gold Medal in the annual women’s Alpine Skiing, Advanced Level Dream programme held in South Korea. There were more than 155 participants from 55 countries across the world.
She is a 9th Class student of Delhi Public School Srinagar and her father Gul Mustafa Dev who is the first Olympian from Kashmir. She dedicated her victory to her father and the school for boosting her confidence.

Rabiya Amin & Pakeeza Nazir

Sports Stars Of Kashmir
Two teenage girls of Central Kashmir’s Chrar-i-Shareef Town of District Budgam Rabiya Amin and Pakeeza Nazir won Bronze and Silver medals in karate at international level at Ahmedabad Gujarat. They both hailed from a middle class family. They were doing academically well but always wanted to achieve big and that’s when they started their training in Karate.
“Locals did not allow us to practice at playground but my family provided me everything all the time, support and stuff whatever and whenever I need, with the prayers and support of my family I won at Ahmedabad” said Rabiya. But now after seeing their achievement everyone is supporting them and are proud of them.

These were some of the achievement of our talented youth and we do have a kick start for this year. Many more victories are on their way. Till then Keep Playing, Keep slaying!

Rasikh Dar: The New Rising Star from Kashmir

Rasikh Dar: The New Rising Star from Kashmir

In India, Cricket isn’t just a game. Not being a national sport, it is still treated as a religion and the cricketers are considered as Gods. The thrill, madness, passion and the excitement during a match for the cricket lovers is a treat. As much as they would love to watch and play the game; the passion for this sport has generated a plenty of opportunities for the youth in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Our Kashmiri players like Parveez Rasool Zargar, Amir Hussain, Qamran Iqbal, etc have made the Valley proud and are the source of inspiration for the youth to get out of the nutshell and chase their dream. One such Kashmiri Star, Rasikh Dar becomes third Kashmir cricketer to be picked at the auction of upcoming IPL 2019. This 17 year old teenager, managed to steal the limelight with his amazing fast bowling skills. He got shortlisted for the auctions with a base price of INR 20 Lakhs and will represent the team of Mumbai Indians.

Rasikh Dar: The New Rising Star from Kashmir

He hails from a small village in south of Kashmir in Kulgam district. His father, Ab Salam Dar is a teacher by profession and mother is a homemaker. He is the first boy from the district who got selected in IPL. Rasikh had started playing cricket at an early age just like every other kid but who knew he would be able to make his story totally extra ordinary.

He is way ahead from the people of his age group. Last year he tried to play in Jammu and Kashmir under -19 team but was selected. Despite of the failures he never lost faith in his hard work and determination. And of course, his love for the game kept him motivating in his entire journey. Then he made his entry to the Jammu and Kashmir senior team in Vijay Hazare Trophy- a domestic tournament of the country. Then at the time of Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy, he was spotted by the franchise’s scouts who were impressed by his performance. After that he went through a trail with his fellow fast bowlers, then on the day of auction he got the news that he has been selected by Mumbai Indians.

“I am yet to come to terms [with the selection], so is my family. As an individual, I am very excited and equally happy to be the part of Mumbai Indians’ camp. God willing, if given a chance I will give 100%,” Dar said. “It’s a proud moment for me to play alongside Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh. I am looking forward to learning tidbits from Lasith Malinga. In many ways, he is a treat to watch when it comes to hitting the right line and length.” he added

Rasikh Dar: The New Rising Star from Kashmir

Indian fast bowler, Irfan Pathan identified his talent and saw a star in him. He helped him a lot. They used to practice together for hours which enhanced his skills and made him a better player. Irfan said, “He will surely make it big”. Rasikh also gave credits to the efforts made by J&K coach Milaph.

He is truly an inspiration for youngsters to dream big. Best wishes from the New Age Kashmir for the upcoming tournament. Keep shining and keep making Kashmir proud.

Sahitya Akademi Awards, Sahitya Akademi Awards Jammu and Kashmir 2018, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Awards, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, Inderjeet Kesar

Sahitya Akademi Award- Winners from Jammu and Kashmir (2018)

Kashmir is a land blessed with rich literary heritage that goes back to many centuries!
Did you know that the use of Kashmiri Language in literature began with the poetry of Lalleshwari, also known as Lal Ded, in the 14th century. Known as Lal Vakhs, her verses are the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri language. Following her footsteps and poetic genre of mystical writing, Kashmir has revered writers like Nund Reshi, who is regarded as the patron saint of Kashmiris today. Over a period of time, writers like Habba Khatun, who is known as the Nightingale of Kashmir, came up with their own writing styles in Koshur language and added aesthetic to the Kashmiri literature.

Sahitya Akademi Awards, Sahitya Akademi Awards Jammu and Kashmir 2018, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Awards, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, Inderjeet Kesar

It is due to the blessings and inspiration from our classical Kashmiri writers that the valley has given birth to modern and yet traditionally aware writers. And with the advent of modernization and realization for the need to acknowledge the contributions of our talented writers, the Government of India began to address and appreciate its literary treasure through various awards, one of which is the honorable Sahitya Akademi Award.

Sahitya Akademi Award: History

Literature is the reflection of society”. It is exactly why a piece of work must be recognised for its outstanding contribution to the upliftment of Indian Literature and society. Sahitya Akademi Award is thus an literary award, established in 1954 by Sahitya Akademi, Government of India, awarding any Indian literary publishing written in any of the 24 major Indian Languages, including Koshur. It applauds the phenomenal work of different writers on an yearly basis and acknowledges the new trends in literature with changing times. The award comprises of a plaque and a cash prize of ₹100000. The first Kashmiri writer to have been honored with the Award was Zinda Kaul, awarded in 1956, in the genre of Poetry for his book of poetry compilations “Sumran”.

Sahitya Akademi Awards, Sahitya Akademi Awards Jammu and Kashmir 2018, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Awards, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, Inderjeet Kesar

Click Here for the List of Kashmiri Sahitya Akademi Award Winners

Sahitya Akademi Award- 2018 (Jammu and Kashmir)

Held in December, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Award in Kashmiri Language was honored to short story writer and a significant broadcaster Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq (Tantray). The decision to award Mushtaq was approved by the jury of Kashmiri Language 2018, which comprised of veteran writer and broadcaster Avtar Krishan Rehbar, Prof. Shad Ramzan- the former Head of Department at Kashmir University, and prominent poet and broadcaster Ruksana Jabeen.

Mushtaq has been awarded for his book of collection of eighteen short-stories, titled, “AAKH’’ which was published in 2012. The book has been widely appreciated and was awarded “The Best Book” award in Kashmiri language from State Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in the year 2014. Mushtaq is also a well known broadcast journalist who has been honoured with State Award and Akashwani Award as an “Outstanding Media Professional” and is now posted as Head of the Regional News Unit at Radio Kashmir Srinagar.

Sahitya Akademi Awards, Sahitya Akademi Awards Jammu and Kashmir 2018, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Awards, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, Inderjeet Kesar

It must be noted that, while many writers from the valley were writing and getting acknowledged for their work in Koshur, many other writers from Jammu and Kashmir were being praised for their poems and proses in other Indian Languages.

Another writer from Jammu and Kashmir to be awarded The Sahitya Akademi Award is the famous Dogri writer, Inderjeet Kesar, awarded for his novel “Bhagirath”. The book was approved by Dogri language jury for 2018 that comprised of famous Dogri writers Mohan Singh, Shiv Mehta and Shiv Dev Sushil.

Sahitya Akademi Awards, Sahitya Akademi Awards Jammu and Kashmir 2018, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Awards, Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq, Inderjeet Kesar
Inderjeet Kesar, who in 2004 retired from the Secretariat Service as Deputy Secretary, began writing in 1967 and his book “Bhagirath” was published last year. He has so far written 21 books, including 6 novels, 11 poetry, two short stories, one essay and one devotional song. With his efforts and dedication, Dogri literature has travelled a long way and is recognised widely around the nation.

A big congratulations to Mushtaq Ahmad and Inderjeet Kesar for their achievements from New Age Kashmir. They both are an inspiration for all our aspiring young writers and students of literature in the valley. With their writings and recognition, may they continue to unravel the changes in society, providing the existing ones a place in history and offering a medium to peak back for coming generations.