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Shahjahanpur's Traditional Carpet-making Trade in Distress

Pradeep Pandey, who has been working in the carpet industry for a long time, said that the industry has suffered quite a lot during the pandemic.

Image for representational purpose. Credit: JustDial

Shahjahanpur, which has seen the heyday of carpet industry till nineties, is left with a handful of units and a number of them are on the verge of closure amid new challenges after Covid.

Costly raw material, lack of facilities and innovative skills among artisans amid demand slump during the pandemic forced many units to shut, while a few of them are struggling for their revival.

Pradeep Pandey, who has been working in the carpet industry for a long time, said that the industry has suffered quite a lot during the pandemic.

Due to the rise in the cost of raw materials, it was no longer profitable for the artisans to make carpets, he said.

Deputy Commissioner of District Industries Center Anurag Yadav, however, said that if unemployed youth want to take training for carpet making, the government will arrange for it.

Besides, financial assistance would also be provided for those interested in venturing into the sector, he said.

Earlier, Shahjahanpur used to have around 500 large and 2,500 small carpet units and in 1921, it was a hub of carpet exports.   

Iftekhar Ulla of Shahjahanpur said that once carpet looms were present in houses on every street and the family members were engaged in carpet making. The house with more looms commanded more respect then.

In the Tareen Bahadurganj locality, Haji Niyamat Ullah Shafiullah's family had one of the biggest carpet firms. But today, his shop is among a few of the outlets that deal in good quality carpets in the area. 

Vikas Khurana, head of the department of History, S S College, Shahjahanpur, told PTI that Shahjahanpur came into existence in 1647 and during that time, people from Afghan tribes came here and started making Persian carpets.

Later in 1881, a dacoit named Hussan Khan learned the work of making western-style carpets in the jail. After getting released from prison, he installed a carpet loom at his house and taught the local people to make carpets.

Khurana said that in the tradition of making carpets popularised by Hussan, only 16, 25, or 36 knots were made, which was more attractive and only red and white colours were used in it.

According to the book The Geographer, children as young as 14 used to work in the carpet industry and earn five rupees a day. 

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