The never witnessed momentum in the development of Jammu and Kashmir, after the scrapping of Article 370, is taking Kashmir out of noisy and smoky environment towards prosperity and peace. As a consequence, the opening of the floodgates of opportunity has allowed traditional businesses to diversify across the world. And now this growth story is transcending the oceans, depicting a complete different and beautiful picture of Kashmir.
On Thursday, a well-known businessman Najtaba Kadri , became the first Kashmiri to deliver a speech at the House of Lords in the UK. He is the founder of Me&K label luxury brand based in Kashmir. He was invited by the King’s College, London to present his views on the two-hour roundtable, which was hosted by the House of Lords. The roundtable meeting focused on the impact of trade facilitation policies on women, challenges in designing trade policies and gender inclusivity.
During his speech, Kadri stated that women are playing a significant role in the Pashmina Industry, especially in the higly skilled work of hand spinning and embroidery. Along with that, Kadri also said, “In today’s world, there is a growing demand for slow and sustainable fashion. Kashmir’s pashmina and other traditional textiles exemplify sustainability, and have stood the test of time for centuries.”
Aligning with the topic of discussion, he also emphasized the gender inclusivity in the Pashmina industry. He said, “Around 80 per cent of wages paid in the manufacturing of hand spun go to female workers in Kashmir. Kashmiri Pashmina is a way to empower women and increase their financial independence.”
The End Of Decade Old Plight Of Kashmir
Kadri urged the UK government to make the imports of Kashmiri Pashmina with a GI mark, duty-free. He elucidated how in the last 33 years, the companies had been hesitant to send their employees to Kashmir, which became a curse of disadvantages for the region’s trade.
But the things have now changed since Article 370 is abrogated, the merchandise exports of Kashmir soared by 30.76 per cent to $246.07 million in FY22. Along with that, the nerve of Kashmir’s economy is tourism which is a in a way, a supportive industry for Kashmiri Pashmina. According to reports, in 2022, 1.9 crore people visited Jammu & Kashmir, while this year 80.4 lakh people have visited J&K so far till May.
During the event, All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), the co-organizer of the roundtable with King’s college has expressed interest in organizing a meeting in Kashmir in the near future. APPG based in UK, is an organization working with an objective of fostering trade and investment between India and UK.