Every motif in a Kashmiri carpet, its every warp and weft binds in it the story of a long, enduring, and rich legacy of the culture of Kashmir, its craft traditions, and most importantly, the artisans who persevere to keep it alive against all odds. And every Kashmir Galore carpet binds in it the history and legacy of the Posh family, its journey paved by Late Haji Abdul Rehman Posh in the late 1950s.
A former goldsmith, he already imbibed in him qualities of a true artist. But as fate would have it, an accident paralyzed his left hand, leaving him to search for a different source of earning a livelihood. But, like a true artisan, he refused to give up on art, and embraced this as an opportunity to venture into carpet weaving, a craft form he had long admired. His conviction in his passion for the painstaking art of carpet weaving made him take the leap of faith, and he took his wife’s help to sell some of her gold jewellery to set up a loom in Srinagar, hire two weavers, and buy silk for his new business. This small act of extreme courage and grit would go on to lay the foundation of the generational legacy that runs in the Posh family.
With prosperous tourism in the valley, his business also flourished as the single loom grew hundredfold, spread across the villages of Budgam, Pattan as well as the outskirts of Srinagar. The growth was also due to the trusted name he had earned amongst the weaver communities of these regions who came to him seeking work. Posh provided them fair and timely wages, an opportunity to work from home, and a steady source of income during the harsh winters of Kashmir. During the initial years of the business, he even carried the carpets from the villages to the stores in Srinagar on his shoulders to save on transportation costs. His single-sighted dedication sowed the seeds for what would be named Posh Carpets, selling intricately hand-knotted Kashmiri carpets made in luxurious silk that were sold in some of the leading stores in Srinagar which have found place in homes across the world.
During the late 1980s, his sons took over the mantle and moved the business to Delhi in search of expansion opportunities as deteriorating political climate and consequentially, shrinking tourism discouraged sales in Kashmir. In 2014, Posh Carpets was renamed Kashmir Galore, now helmed by its third generation heir, Saqib Posh. Saqib, too, found his way in the carpet business through a strike of fate as, much like his grandfather, an accident forced him to quit his job as a fashion stylist and turn to dedicate himself to his family legacy.
He is now facing challenges that his ancestors didn’t as Kashmir’s hand-knotted carpet industry, a tradition that bears an imprint of its history and its people, is facing several threats. From the influx of machine-made carpets from around the world and the low prices this fast model allows to declining tourism in Kashmir which has declined interaction between carpet sellers and buyers, there are several factors which Saqib strives to overcome in an effort to carry forward the enduring legacy of hand-knotted Kashmiri silk carpets as well as his family. It is only by preserving and sustaining this craft tradition, a meditative practice that involves skill, patience, and dedication only a handful possess, that we will be able to support the livelihood of these exceptional artisans of the valley.