Pashmina is the gem of Jammu and Kashmir’s heritage representing luxury par excellence. Housed in the finest of museums in the world, this exquisite luxury product is synonymous with Jammu and Kashmir. It is a known fact that this prized industry is indispensible for the state’s economy and employment. The industry is facing numerous challenges and requires innovative, contemporary and disruptive efforts to steer this craft and position our state in the world luxury market and as a heritage destination. Babar who is the founder and curator of the Global Luxury Pashmina Dialogue Series stated that the aim is to kill the bias in a progressive manner and look at building a disruptive model for the industry by engaging the thinkers and talented people from within India and globally. This is an initiative that aims to preserve, enhance and re-imagine the authentic handmade pashmina heritage and explore the possibilities of sustainable luxury development through a first ever initiative like this.
The LPD Round Table Jammu, had experts and stakeholders from different background including Industries, Government, Wild Life, Art and Culture, Trade Bodies, Universities, Scholars, Researchers and Big Global Strategic Consulting Companies. Rajat Wahi, Partner Deloitte who flew in to join the Round Table from Colombo stated that Deloitte is partnering with this series by signing an MoU with Babar and will come on board as a Knowledge Partner for the entire series. They would do a joint study on Global Pashmina Market and the Opportunity and would present the study at the future round LPD Events. Deloitte will also open it’s global network to the LPD and engage in building a global economic opportunity for the Pashmina Industry with Babar. The MoU was signed in the presence of the profiled gathering who appreciated the initiative and the impact that it will create across the eco-system. The powerful panel proposed and deliberated on different linkages of Pashmina and brought under one roof the Government, Powerful Business Community, Art Connoisseurs, Industry Patrons and Trusted Bodies and the Who’s Who of Jammu. The event walked the audience through the journey of pashmina right from Changthang to the luxury stores of Europe. Henna, the Co-founder shared that LPD is a platform where Talent (from around the world) with meet Purpose (To Re-Imagine the Authentic Pashmina Eco-System of India). The Dialogue will trigger Key Interesting linkages with Pashmina, just as the soothing strands of Pashmina bind and connect to create a warm Pashmina fabric, the Luxury Pashmina Dialogue will bind and connect various domains History, Culture, Ecology, Environment, Economy, Livelihood, Heritage, Culture, Art, Tourism and Peace. The key linkages that the Dialogue explored were 1. Reviving Historical/Cultural Ties through Pashmina 2. Understanding the Central Asian Emotional Connect with the Silk Route 3. Pashmina in context of Environment & Ecology 4. Economic Impact of Pashmina in J&K through Financial Inclusion, Sustainable Luxury and livelihood generation 5. Grandeur of Antique Pashmina and 6. Pashmina and Peace and how this Eco-System can contribute to bring in lasting Peace in the region through skill development initiatives, employment creation, global linkage for youth and tourism promotion.
Chander Prakash Ganga lauded the efforts of Babar and encouraged him to take these steps which are unique in every respect and extended his full support. He further stated that there needs to be branding of the industry at this level which can create a lasting positive impact for the state of J&K. Shailendra Kumar, CS Industries and Commerce engaged with the panelists in technical details and made them aware of the projects and the initiatives that the Government has taken and how they are working to safe guard and promote the industry. Amongst present at the Round Table were Rajat Wahi Partner Deloitte, Oliver Fall Asia Head Ftwo Consulting, Parikshit Manhas Director SHTM, Padma Shri Balwant Thakur ICCR, C M Seth Wildlife Expert, Rajesh Gupta President Tourism Federation, Gulchain Singh Charak Former Minister, Anoo Malthotra Addl, Commissioner Commercial Tax, Rohit Rattan WWF and others.
Babar thanked the supporters and partners for the LPD Series which include Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Directorate of Industries & Commerce, Directorate of Tourism, Directorate of Handicrafts, Directorate of Handlooms, Safa Valley Project, Radisson Blu and others for extending their support to this global initiative. He communicated his special thanks to Chief Secretary, Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce, Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Principal Secretary to the CM, Grand Daughter of Maharaja Hari Singh who not only encouraged the initiative but also extended full support to make a meaningful impact in the Pashmina Industry of J&K.
This global event series is a brain child of the Pashmina Artist, Activist and Shepherd Babar Afzal, who is the most credible voice on pashmina in the world (as reported by national and international media) who’s selfless work for the community and journey has been profiled by TIME Magazine (time.com) in it’s Genius Issue, BBC World Service, CNN, Bloomberg, NASDAQ and many more. His journey to become a Pashmina Goat Shepherd in Himalayas, after leaving a high profile professional career 6-years back has become a story of inspiration. He has curated this multi-city event as a tribute to the magnificent Pashmina Goats and the Authentic Communities at the root of this beautiful Eco-System that live in the higher Himalayas and supply the most sort after luxury fabric, the Finest Pashmina to the world. Babar is a proud recipient of the Shri. Rabindranath Tagore Award, Dr. B R Ambedkar Award, Rajiv Gandhi Excellence, REX Karmaveer Chakra (instituted with UN) & Bharat Gaurav Awards. He is also a TED Residency Finalist, A WIRED (UK) Innovation Fellow & Speaker and a REX Global Fellow. Babar is also the first person from J&K to speak on multiple TEDx Platforms. He has been a professional who worked with the big names like McKinsey & Company Inc. and Computer Associates in India, USA, UK, Middle East and Saudi Arabia.