Carpet Weavers

Carpet industry on the outskirts of city weaving the lives of many


By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

TWELVE-year-old Khudadad, one of the youngest carpet weavers, who also suffers from paralysis in one leg, has now become a master at his trade. In addition, he is now enjoying all the things that he was deprived of before he joined the factory a few months ago.

The factory, owned by one of his clan members, is located in Afghan Basti, Camp Jadeed on Northern Bypass. The area is full of Afghanistan-based Uzbek and Turkmen known for their expertise in carpet weaving.

Ibrahim Mughal, Khudad’s teacher, told Daily Times that Khudadad los

Khudadad, a young master.--Photo by Jamil Khan

Khudadad, a young master.–Photo by Jamil Khan

t his father, who belonged to Kunduz, Afghanistan, and was living with his three brothers, a sister and mother in the locality. He decided to help support his family and learned the skill of carpet weaving.

“It is amazing how he learned the skills within such a short time period and now he can assist his colleagues in weaving carpets of whatever design, whether simple or complicated,” Mughal said.

Khudadad, a soft spoken and diligent member of the carpet-weaving group, is seen tirelessly working on carpets fitted on a Qalib (wooden frame). He does not indulge in chitchat and does not like sitting idle at the factory.

The Afghan Basti is renowned for its carpet weavers, 90 percent of whom are Uzbeks and 10 percent belong to Turkmenistan. They run five major factories and more than 1,500 people are associated with the business. The artisans from Afghanistan that belong to the carpet industry have been famous across the world and master the art of weaving wonderful carpets, including Chubi Ziglar, Samarqand, Bukhara and Khazaq, which are being exported to the entire world.

The sheep wool used in the process is obtained from Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The spinning process is known among the weavers as Neikhsazi and is carried out through an electric-motor fitted spin wheel, rather than the centuries old manual one. The weavers use wooden colors, called Chobi, in the dying process, putting it in a Qazan (a deep vessel covered with thick mud) to make sure that the colour lasts longer and remains shiny.

A 9×12-square-feet carpet can be completed within two months by four weavers, while a 10×14 sized carpet takes almost three months with the same number of weavers. Mughal, who himself is a master carpet weaver, is actively working to promote the culture of carpet weaving and told Daily Times that they are ready to teach local people the art of carpet weaving at any forum. He proudly stated that their carpets are being exported to USA, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Ireland and other countries, through various dealers of the city.

Mughal Carpet Weavers’ Association (MCWA) Chairman Haji Hassan Taluqani said that the government of Pakistan should grant benefits to the Afghan weavers living in these camps, as it will result in a great boost to the country’s exports.

Presently, the carpet industry of Pakistan is being taken care of by Uzbek and Turkmen artisans who play an important role in the economy, bringing in nearly $ 2.5 million to the economy of Pakistan each year, he said, adding that, with the proper government assistance, carpet-weaving schools will be established in the city in the near future.

– Published in Daily Times | Dec 15, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on December 15, 2008.

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