Senior Congress leader and former union minister, Professor Saifuddin Soz on Sunday said that he felt a situation of emotion that got mingled with what he want to say on May Day.In a statement issued to KNS, Soz said that some artisans remembered the Zaldagar Massacre and wanted, perhaps, all of us to remember that on that day the shawl weavers uprising had taken place in 1865.“It was not possible then to demand a proper wage. That was one of the darkest periods of our history when the Dag-e-Shawl --an institution of tyranny was not allowing the Pashmina weavers to even purchase the grains if they could afford to buy and feed their families. The high taxes Imposed by the Govt. (Read... Mis Government) were collected at the loom itself. The weavers were struggling only to keep their body and soul together. The massacre took place through drowning a large to their number of agitating weavers at Zaldagar,” he said.
It was heartening for me to know Pashmina workers have remembered those courageous forefathers.But I raise a question for the larger civil society in Kashmir. In this time of democracy has the lot of Pashmina weavers and other artisans improved? Five years ago, I was invited by a large crowd of artisans in their assembly near Ali Masjid to make me appreciate their difficulties . I did sensitize my mind on difficulties of artisans and struggled together.The major complaint of Pashmina, Copper and other workers is that the same system is allowing unlawful production of shawls copper and other products on machines, That is the root cause of the poverty of our Shawl weavers and other artisans. I travelled a distance with the artisans, but they have continued to suffer. The artisans in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir live in poverty. I express my deep distress today that our artisans are sufferings because the system is thoroughly corrupts.” (KNS)