Musaib Mehraj


 Scores of Kashmiri girls who have learned to turn their hobbies into thriving business are proving to be a source of inspiration for many youth across the State.
For instance, some of the innovative girls have taken craft of Crochet (Koeraeshi) to the new heights in Kashmir and they are attracting many more youth to join them.
Crochet has been a well-known art among Kashmiri’s and mostly the art is mastered by the women in Kashmir but as they say there are exceptions in everything.
A girl who is living his passion, shed all the thoughts from people and weaved magic by her young hands has mastered the profession of Crochet.
Mansha Younis Pandit, 23, a girl from Lal Bazar has been in love with this art and has taken the profession seriously when she made her passion turn into business and started a profitable venture.
Mansha, a statistics student from Kashmir University turned her childhood hobby into a business. Inspired by her mother and grandmother, Mansha has taken it upon herself to revive the craft of crochet in Kashmir and make it her full-time profession, as she believes her passion for the art can last only if she is able to turn it into a profitable venture.
Mansha belongs to a business family and her father deals with Kashmir arts, says she grew up hearing about the dying arts of Kashmir and became concerned from a very young age about its revival as part of Kashmir’s culture.
Crochet is a process of creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other materials using a crochet hook. The name is derived from the French term crochet, meaning ‘small hook’. These are made of materials such as metal, wood, or plastic and are manufactured commercially and produced in artisan workshops. The salient difference between crochet and knitting, beyond the implements used for their production, is that each stitch in crochet is completed before proceeding with the next one, while knitting keeps a large number of stitches open at a time.
Mansha had learned basic crochet designs from her elders, using her creative abilities she makes a good number of new and trendy crochet products, which are attracting her customers.
The young girl was passionate about crochet ever since she saw her mother and grandmother doing the same and that tempted her to go for this art.
“Watching my mother and grandmother crocheting made me passionate about it. It feels immense pleasure by crocheting, particularly when I do jewelry. I was inclined towards creative fields from my childhood and crochet was the form of art, I found suitable to express my creativity,” Mansha said.
The girl has received a positive response for her art and has earned a decent customer base within a year.
“I made my work public through the social media apps like Facebook and Instagram and thanks to the almighty the response was tremendous as I earned a huge customer base within a year,” Mansha said.
Mansha also claims that she is the first person from valley who makes jeweler with silk thread while as the others do it traditionally as she feels ‘Silk thread beautifies it more and enhances its look.
Since the profession is more suitable for women, Mansha makes more of women centric products including bootie, pin cushions, wall hangings, mufflers and many more. However, her main focus is on crochet jewelry, earrings, jewelry sets.
Her products are mostly used by the brides in Kashmir where flower jewelry is very common on the marriage ceremonies and that has earned her healthy customers.
Keeping in view the rates of her products she says that the prices are quite genuine and reasonable as she thinks crocheting should be afforded by all.
Mansha enjoys her profession and cherishes her every moment considers the profession as her friend.
“Crocheting makes me happy. It exercises my hands as well as the mind. It has a lot of health benefits and some people even do crocheting to fight depression,” she said.
Even she is pursuing her masters’ from KU; Mansha wants to acquire the art as a full time profession after she completes her degree.
“Currently I am doing my PG from KU and crocheting stands as a part time job for her but after finishing my degree I will completely acquire it as my profession as I don’t want the art to die,” Mansha added.
“Government jobs have never been my priority, I would like to continue with this art as it gives me pleasure and I am completely into it,” she added.
Mansha’s goal to become an entrepreneur is based on the fact that it gives woman independence in life and can work in her own comfort zone. She believes that Kashmir has immense potential for new businesses and entrepreneurship but the situation is not allowing people to flourish here.
“It’s tough to maintain consistency in a conflict zone like Kashmir. Curfews, strikes hinder the crocheting work.”
Mansha has also faced several challenges in her life and blames internet suspension for her loss.
“My work is completely dependent on the internet. I promote and publicize my products through social media so whenever the internet is blocked, I face tough times,” she added.
Mansha also believes that since she is completely into crocheting no internet ban or disruptions will hinder her determination towards the art. ( Courtesy Rising Kashmir)