Srinagar, Oct 1: In a significant move, the government of India has patented the traditional Kashmiri Pashmina shawl to prevent its imitation that has been causing heavy losses to the weavers in the valley.
Now, the genuine Kashmiri Pashmina shawl would have its own logo making it distinct from the imitated ones.
Officials believe it will make the sale of imitated shawls not only difficult, but also impossible.
The weavers have welcomed this move of the Government and they believe it will help them earn lucrative profits.
"I think it is a good move on the part of the government to put a patent mark on Pashmina shawls because it is going to help the customer to distinguish between the genuine and the fake one. It is also going to be lucrative for our business," said Mohammed Salem, a weaver.
Following the ban on Shatoosh, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have been recommending the patenting of the Kashmir Pashmina.
After census of Shahtoosh workers in the Valley, the WTI and IFAW had positioned Kashmir Pashmina as a viable alternative to the banned Shahtoosh products mainly to prevent alleged poaching of the Tibetan antelope commonly known as the Chiru.
Moreover, the sale of spurious shawls, allegedly from Amritsar in particular, to the tourists as genuine Kashmiri Pashmina had intensified the campaign for patenting of the traditional shawls.
After two years of hectic efforts, the Geographical Indication Registry has awarded the patent under the name 'Kashmiri Pashmina' to a society of diverse Kashmiri handicraft artisans, 'Tahafuz' (protection).
"This is a good step in the interest of Kashmir that Pashmina has been patented. This is a traditional knowledge, which is specific to a particular community in this area. If anybody else tries to sell something else in some other place in the name of Pashmina, then legal action can be taken against him, " said Shariq Farooqi, Director, Craft Development Association of Srinagar.
Impressively soft and light, the Pashmina shawls offer incomparable warmth and are made from the fur of a mountain goat that is found in India, Nepal and Tibet.
Over the years, designers in Kashmir have made subtle changes to the Pashmina, incorporating more embroidery patterns and designs, while holding on to traditions.
Besides an active domestic clientele, Pashminas from Kashmir are exported to a large number of countries with major clients coming from the US, UK and Australia.