The Hakh (Kale) of Kawdara commonly called as Kawdara Hakh which was considered as one of the popular varieties of kashmiri food is no more decorating the Kashmiri feasts. Stretched over the vast area in Kawdara area of Srinagar, it cultivation has decreased over the past few years.Increased population, rampant constructions and reluctance of younger generation of farmer families to rely on vegetable cultivation for earning their livelihood are viewed as main factors for the decrease in hakh production.Owing to the growing prices of land in the downtown area the farmers who were producing the Kale are now using the same land for the construction of their houses.
Ghulam Ahmad who has been supporting his family by cultivating Kale attributes the conversion of Kawadara hakh farms for construction purposes to the escalating cost of land elsewhere.“The cost of the land in downtown area has sky rocketed over the past few years. A single Marla of land cost more than five lakhs and we can’t afford to buy land in other parts of city so under compulsion constructions are coming up on this land,” he said. While Rafiq ahmad says that earning from Kale cultivation is enough for sustenance of the farmer families, there are some people who also make a living by cultivating hakh and say that it is no longer sufficient to meet daily expenses.
Another resident of Kawdara said, “The hakh we grow here needs a lot of hard work and the area we have here is shared by lots of people. The market price of hakh is very low and our expenses exceeds the profit we make. We cannot afford our families on such low income made by the hakh production.” Besides its low cost, the elderly people articulate that the younger generation have adopted other forms of business and are reluctant to work hard for the cultivation of hakh as they feel stigma attached to it.“The new generation of farmers is looking for other alternatives for earning their livelihood. Some of them even sell their land which is then mostly used for constructing houses. There is a sort of inferiority complex attached with this work. All this leads to the less production of Hakh,”said an elderly person of the area