Now Artisans Have Kashmir Pashmina Patent

Now Artisans Have Kashmir Pashmina Patent

5 August 2013
Rising Kashmir
Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: Pashmina buyers no longer need to worry whether the products they are purchasing are real or fake. To ensure the quality of Pashmina shawls, Tahafuz, a society of Kashmiri artisans and Craft Development Institute (CDI), Srinagar have come up with Kashmir Pashmina Label, a seal of authenticity for genuine handmade Pashmina goods. The Secure Fusion Authentic Label (SFAL) would be used for certification of genuine ‘Kashmir Pashmina’. Each label has a Covert (Hidden: Readable under UV light) and Overt (Visible to naked eye) information as well a unique number for tracking and record purposes. Furthermore, each label carries invisible nano particles known as microtaggant (detected under infra red light) having a unique code formulated specially for Kashmir Pashmina. Kashmir Pashmina has been registered under Geographical Indications (GI) of Goods Act of India having GI No 5611-S-2007. The GI registration mandates that only craft goods manufactured in the prescribed manner and the designated region could be labeled as authentic GI. With this registration, Kashmir Pashmina would be accorded legal protection in the market place. Talking to Rising Kashmir, Director CDI Srinagar, Mohammad Sharique Farooqui said in 2005 Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) and Directorate of Handicrafts expressed a desire of branding Kashmir crafts and sought to know if CDI could help. “We felt there was no legal status for Kashmir handicrafts to be branded as branding requires standardization and quality assurance,” he said. “Unless you have a benchmark, one cannot differentiate between what Pashmina is and what is not.” Farooqui said they realized the mechanism for protection and standardization of the craft was through GI registration. Kashmir is known worldwide for the quality of its shawls particularly Pashmina and in the West, it is as referred as cashmere wool. Kashmir shawls find written mention in Afghan texts between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. The founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally held to be Kashmir’s 15th century ruler Zain-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Central Asia. However, over the last few decades, some Kashmir art traders are bringing disrepute to the Kashmir Pashmina by selling fake Pashmina products. To save Pashmina from developing a bad reputation, Tahafuz, a society of Kashmiri artisans has got the GI registration for Kashmir Pashmina. Now the title ‘Kashmir Pashmina’ cannot be used other than those subscribing to the specification regarding the raw material, production process and finished goods other than those registered as the Kashmir Pashmina under GI of Goods Act of India. The genuine Kashmir Pashmina is made of 100 percent Pashm fibres having fineness of up to 16 microns and obtained from the under fleece of the mountain goat ‘Capra hiracus’. Kashmir Pashmina is a hand woven fabric by the artisans of Jammu and Kashmir made using handspun yarn. The use of SFAL has already been successfully demonstrated by the Central Silk Board of Indian through introduction of ‘Silk Mark’ labels for certification of genuine silk fabric and made-ups produced in India. SFALs are to be fixed on Pashmina fabrics or made up by fusion technology. The finished label size would be 1 inch by 1 inch. The label includes the covert and overt information in the form of unique number, text, image as well as secure content based on authentication security using microtaggant. The label is fast to dry cleaning, washing, and tamper proof with reference to the covert and overt information. The label is resistant to ironing temperature from the reverse side of the fabric. Farooqui said the next step would be to spread awareness at the international level about the GI registration and the use of SFAL on genuine Kashmir Pashmina products.