Handicrafts at Shah Qabool Bazaar attract buyersArchive
Fahad Niaz, a teenage artisan at Shah Qabool Bazaar (old Dabgari area), strikes a balance between his school and sports activities to entertain orders of buyers of his artifacts at the lone shop of handicrafts in the once famous music street in the area.
“There are four other shops in the same bazaar selling out artifacts but these are mostly imported or brought from outside,” the young artisan claims. He adds that the lone handicrafts shop contains 100 different items that are available from just Rs40 to Rs15,000. He has learnt crating skill from his father in four years.
Art lovers say that the handicrafts can find a better foreign market if promoted at official level.
Fahad, 16, a student of 9th grade, has recently crafted a Tonga and is busy these days to craft horse for it. It took him 10 days and crafting a wooden horse will take some more days.
He expects the wonderful artifact will fetch him Rs8,000 to Rs15,000. He spends two hours at his shop after school. Also he spares time for sports and watching movies on television.
“I can manage time to attend both. I want to make a career in medicine. Earlier I had thought about doing Masters in art and craft but now I have changed my mind. However I will continue crafting things as it is my strong passion,” Farhad maintains.
He and his father Niaz Khan are dealing in original handicrafts being crafted by them at their shop.
“No one else in the market is crafting any item like we have been doing for the last many years,” he tells this scribe proudly.
Fahad explains that he and his father craft variety things from auto-rickshaw, truck, jeep, rabab, tabla to horse etc with 18 to 20 different traditional tools. “We don’t use any mechanic tool in crafting things as people like and love to buy hand-crafted items. Our items are taken to Gulf States and also local residents purchase it,” says the ninth grader.
Mudassir Shah Afridi tells this scribe that he is a great lover of handicrafts and has bought several items for his family and friends in Dubai. He says that even foreigners love to see these handicrafts.
Mr Afridi says that on his every trip to Peshawar, he buys handicrafts which remind him of his own land people. “The local handicrafts transport our cultural identity to foreign lands. Although artifacts cannot speak, yet they convey a distinct cultural message,” he argues.
Niaz Khan, father of Fahad Niaz, says that he is the recipient of three awards and four certificates for best handcrafting at federal and provincial levels. “I had set up this shop 28 years ago and since then I have been in this business. I am not satisfied with it but I and my teenage son Fahad Niaz earn around Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 per month,” he adds.
Mr Khan frequently participates in arts and crafts exhibitions. He had displayed his auto-rickshaw and a few other handcrafted items at Lok Versa Mela, Islamabad held in April this year.
He says that with official patronage his craft business can be boosted. “Our handicrafts attract local buyers but need further promotion at official level,” he adds.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2016