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Knotting empowerment | Srinagar women’s group strives to revive ancient Namda art

The revival of the Namda craft is more than just a preservation of cultural heritage; it is a testament to the unwavering spirit of these women who refuse to be defined by circumstance
12:00 AM Mar 13, 2024 IST | MUKEET AKMALI
knotting empowerment   srinagar women’s group strives to revive ancient namda art
Mubashir Khan/ GK
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Srinagar, Mar 12:  In a heart-warming display of determination and resilience, a group of twenty women in the alleys of Saida Kadal area in Downtown are breathing new life into the ancient art of Namda making.

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As the world celebrates Women's Day, these spirited individuals have taken it upon themselves to revive the dying craft, weaving not just intricate patterns but also their narratives of self-reliance and financial independence.

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The rhythmic clicking of their tools echoes through the narrow lanes, a symphony of empowerment that resonates with each careful stitch. With firm resolve etched on their faces, these women are defying societal norms and shattering stereotypes, one knot at a time.

Maala, a trainee at the elementary training centre of the Handicrafts and Handloom Department at Saida Kadal, was once a pashmina spinner earning meagre returns. However, she has now embarked on a journey of empowerment by learning the craft of Namda making. "I am neither educated nor do I have any vocational training," Maala shared. "With the rising cost of living and my husband's income being insufficient, I realised that learning this craft would not only make me financially independent but also bring me immense joy and fulfillment."

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Her determination is echoed by fellow trainee Shehnaza, who believes that every woman should possess a skill or craft. "By joining this program, we are not only empowering ourselves but also paving the way for other women to learn this craft and become self-employed," she stated.

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The revival of the Namda craft is more than just a preservation of cultural heritage; it is a testament to the unwavering spirit of these women who refuse to be defined by circumstance

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Imran Ahmad, the instructor at the Namda Elementary Training Centre in Srinagar's Saida Kadal area, expressed the centre's aim of training women in the Namda-making craft. "These women receive a stipend of Rs 1000 per month during their training period," Ahmad stated. "Namda is a traditional craft, but it was on the verge of extinction. However, in the last few years, the Department of Handicrafts has made concerted efforts to revive it by training women in this craft."

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Ahmad emphasised the importance of preserving this ancient art form, not only for its cultural significance but also as a means of empowering women and providing them with a sustainable source of livelihood.

"By equipping these women with the skills of Namda making, we are enabling them to embrace financial independence while simultaneously safeguarding our rich heritage," he added.

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