Salampur, The Village Of Shawls

Salampur, The Village Of Shawls
Salampur is located outside of Mangora in Swat, The village is famous for its arts and crafts industry, particularly the production of shawls. When you reach Salampur, colorful shawls, pakkols and waistcoats can be seen everywhere.

The total population of Salam Pur is about 17 to 18,000, in which 70 to 80 percent of the people including women are involved in the craft of weaving chadars(shawls). There are more than 5,000 handlooms and  neighbouring areas are also part of this cottage industry making the number of people associated with the craft between 50-60,000.

Samiullah Khan, a resident of the area involved in this business, spoke of how the tradition was rooted in their history as their elders were also involved in this profession and that they simply followed in their footsteps۔

"These shawls are famous because its  design is different and more durable، The artisans make it from pure wool  with the perfection of their art," he added.

Muhammad Arsalan a handloom owner explained that an artisan makes about 4 to 5 shawls in a day and  about 16,000 to 17,000 shawls are woven in a day in Salampur alone.

Adil Khan, a shopkeeper who sells shawls, said that due to economic instability in the country and the high value of the dollar, the price of imported wool for shawls has increased which has also affected the prices and production of shawls. He added that due to Corona and flood situation in nearby areas have also adversely affected our business.

Nazia bibi  who weaves shawls at home told The Friday Times that the skill of weaving shawls gave them a chance to participate in business ,earn at home and provide better education to their children. She explained that once shawls have been woven on a handloom, floral designs are then added to make shawls for women.

Salampur shawls are identified by numbers rather than names ,The numbers 48, 52, 64 and 72 are the most popular among these.

According to locals who belongs to this business, a market of shawls has been established in Salampur where the shawl  price range is from PKR 1,000 to 100,000. The industry generates PKR  8 crores  daily and PKR 2 billion 50 crores total in a  month.

The shawls made in Salam Pur have been supplying to cold areas inside the country. The external supply to foreign countries where weather is cold is very less in number, little help of  govt can boosting up exports ,this local industry can contribute positively in the economy of the country.

The writer is a Peshawar-based journalist reporting on human rights and social issues.