Islampur: Keeping cultural heritage alive

Islampur started suffering heavy losses due to an insurgency, but the determination of artisans revived the industry.

Fazal Khaliq June 21, 2013
An artisan works at his hand loom in Islampur, Swat. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ/EXPRESS

MINGORA: Islampur, the hub of handmade shawls and handicrafts, is bent on keeping its cottage hand loom industry up and running, producing high quality woolen shawls and warm clothes for the region.

The village, located in the mountains of Marghuzar Valley, caters to over 450 factories and holds the status of being the only village where more than 80 percent of the population of 30,000 is connected with the hand loom profession.

However, Islampur started suffering heavy losses as a result of the unrest that took over the area when insurgents tried to impose their version of Sharia law in the valley.

Despite the insurgency, the determination of the local artisans and industry owners successfully revived their cottage weaving industry and proved that art and creativity can never be subjugated.

The village has been associated with the cottage weaving industry since ages. According to the owners of the cottage industry even their forefathers were in this profession.

“I have this cottage factory where 12 hand looms are at work, we have some of the best artisans who produce world class woolen products – not just men but women from the area also work here,” an owner told The Express Tribune.

The wool weaving industry of Islampur produces some of the best winter gear, but the credit for it, unfortunately, goes to the middleman, leaving the actual craftsmen feeling deprived.


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