Textile is a booming industry of India that provides employment on a large-scale and is a means of livelihood for the women of Ladakh. Pashmina is a sublime wool found in the regions of Kashmir and Ladakh. This fine fabric is popular for its warmth and known also as cashmere wool, though there was a time when the inhabitants didn’t know the worth of this material. The administration in the year 2016 came to know about the poor conditions of the ethnic groups as well as the rich heritage of Pashmina. That was the time when the situation started rectifying. The Changthang region of Ladakh has a breed of goats called Changra and Chegu. They carry the best quality of wool for Pashmina. The goats are nurtured by Changpa tribes. The then deputy commissioner, G Prasanna Swamy initiated the project Laksal in 2017. This project is now a big vision and LAHDC is one of the backbones of the project that provides funds.
There is another man who is promoting Pashmina in his own way and is called the ‘Pashmina Prince’ of India — Babar Fazal, a management consultant turned Pashmina artist, activist and shepherd. Babar was once faced a near death situation and was gifted a new life through shepherds of Ladakh. He is now spreading this impeccable material through his knowledge and unique art by travelling around the world. Babar plans to take this fabric to the most prestigious international platforms. He runs his community brand called Pashmina Goat Project and it produces infrequent pieces of Pashmina with variable but affordable costs. He took up this task in 2014 after the incident happened as he wanted the goats and herders to live a good life, especially when they have an elite fabric like Pashmina. Projects like Babar’s have skilled the artisans and provided them a good income and even the State and Central governments have taken these projects in consideration.