Padma Shree to a shawl exporter?

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New Delhi, Jan 29: Is it a mistaken identity or lack of commitment ? The Padma Award Committee have conferred the Padma Shree to a wrong person. The prestigious award in the field of art and culture has been given to a shawl exporter. Hashmat Ullah Khan of Jammu Kashmir has been misidentified as the master craftsmen of the rare Kani shawls.

Passing the buck for mistaken identity has already begun. A senior govt officials said they did not recommend Hashmat Ullah Khan's name in the first place. A senior J&K official said, "The state's general administration department has not sent this name for the award. On behalf of the government, it is this department that's responsible for sending in names."

Jammu Kashmir Academy of Art and Culture spokesperson Javed Rahl said “There is no person by that name in the field of art and culture in this state. Also, the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages did not recommend anyone by this name."

First Khan was nominated under the art, culture and literature category. Afterwards he was nominated for craftmen category. 'I was astonished when I received a call on Jan 24', Hashmat said. “I was quite surprised because I had no idea that I could have got such an award," a bewildered Khan said.

He added, "It's possible some non-government organisation may have recommended his name, but that's a sorry reflection on how the Padma Awards are given." Speaking about his work, the exporter said, “I have worked for the benefit of artisans and never cared for fame or name. I have been working with weavers and craftsmen for the last 35 years. But apart from that nobody knows me in government circles. I am an unknown person."

When asked if this award could have been recommended by some of his customers, “I don"t have any idea", he said.

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OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)

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