SRINAGAR: The Himalayan Abstract Artist and Pashmina Activist, Babar Afzal called on Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari to discuss the three point program for the Global Pashmina Goat Project.
Erratic climatic conditions and snow has been killing Pashmina Goats in the Himalayas from the past several years, threatening supplies of silky cashmere wool used to make high-end scarves. Thousands of nomads rear the goats in the inhospitable terrain of Ladakh, a high-altitude desert renowned for its dramatic landscape of towering mountains and arid plains.
From past few years, goats were starved to death in the Changthan region because their fodder was buried under unusually heavy snow. In order to sensitize and launch a global initiative to protect the entire Pashmina Eco-System (that includes the Pashmina Goat, the Shepherds, the Communities and their Families which are dependent on the raring of this goat, the Yarn Weavers, the manufacturers, the Craftsmen and the Buyers), Babar Afzal, The Himalayan Abstract Artist and Social Entrepreneur has been hosting Art exhibitions, press conferences, talks and personal interactions with the stake holders in an attempt to sensitize viewers towards the specie and ensure that a larger community participates and celebrates this magnificent specie, The Pashmina Goat.
Babar has been working from past several years on the three point program for enhancing the Pashmina Eco-system which includes, Preservation of the Pashmina Goat, Creation of Awareness about the Fake Pashmina which is destroying the Real Pashmina Industry and Creation of a retail fair trade platform for Pashmina Industry that would represent over 3,00,000 strong community of shepherds, weavers and craftsmen linked with the Pashmina Eco-System.
Hamid Ansari appreciated the work and initiative of Babar Afzal and assured his support to his initiative. Babar explained that he has been working on this cause for the past several years and has put together a ful-fledged program that has the “Care for Pashmina Goat Campaign”, “Pashmina Fair Trade Expositions” and “Pashmina Testing Service for Purity” coming up. All these initiatives are being put together under the NGO “KASHMIRINK Foundation” to ensure that the Pashmina Eco-system is enhanced.
It would help everyone who is linked with Pashmina (as a shepherd who rare the goat, as a weaver who weaves pashmina on the loom, on the craftsmen who make intricate embroideries on the fabric, the shops, stores and brands who sell pashmina and the buyer who buys this precious piece as a life possession.
He is working with the Pashmina Industry Stakeholders and in process of launching the Pashmina Testing Service, where anyone can get their Pashmina Shawls/Stoles tested for their purity and authenticity. He is working on putting “Pashmina FAIR TRADE Expositions” for Pashmina and also “Care for Pashmina Goat” Initiatives together and will launch the website www.pashminagoat.com soon where everyone who is linked with Pashmina Eco-System can participate and ensure that the entire pashmina eco-system is enhanced.
Hamid Ansari was deeply moved and became concerned about the plight of the eco-system, which includes the shepherds, the weavers, the craftsmen and many of the community members who are getting displaced because of the challenges faced by the industry eco-system. Babar presented a painting titled “The King” to Hamid Ansari which has been specially made by him on Pashmina Fibre.