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Bringing to the forefront the Kashmiri Artisans - PASHOM - Pearl Academy

In lieu of a formal introduction to my academic accomplishments, goals, and aspirations, I offer a summary of my dissertation which earned me the 2nd Position in ‘2016 A-Team’, a national level business plan competition at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. The first of its kind venture has affirmed my passion and inclination towards transforming the poignant lives of cashmere hand weavers into enduring and sustainable livelihoods, in the state of Kashmir, India. My endeavor – Pashom intends at ensuring that artisans of Kashmir- who are often duped by the main stream business houses and are barely paid menial wages- become the active beneficiaries of income generated from the products created through their six-century-old weaving skills.

The concept of Pashom was conceived in November of 2015 as my final year research project. While the dissertation was still in progress, I was suggested and encouraged to apply for competitions and to look for seed support. During my research I came across the sorrowful plight under which the Kashmiri weavers lived and worked. The more I learned about the artisans, the bigger my concerns became. To authenticate my research premises, I was motivated to travel to the state and interview the artisans, only to be struck by the irony in which these artisans lived. Despite of producing one of the world’s most exclusive, expensive and desired fibers, their livelihoods were rather precarious, with no hope for a better future.

Through Pashom, I aim at changing their perception of life and catalyze the process of them realizing their dreams of primary education, basic sanitation, and fruitful jobs. My business model which soon turned into a life mission focuses on creating a synergy among the government initiatives, handloom experts, and financial institutions, and furthermore in bringing a paradigm shift in the nature of the business from being “subsidy” based to be more “market led and sustainable” way of development.

Besides Pashom securing a position at BITS, it also got selected among the top three in the reputed 2016 James McGuire Global Business Plan Competition, USA. Further, the project has also been recognized at another national level competition – “Lakshay 2016” a collaborative initiative between Ministry of MSME and Amity University, Noida where it made through the top ten projects. All of this has re-shaped my personality and has instilled in me the confidence to assert my opinions and contest my ideas, even if that involves going against the current.

My goal is to empower the untapped talent, bring them due recognition, and help them grow exponentially by facilitating the right platform and the correct structure. My ambition is to safeguard the traditional skill and ensure that it is valued and awarded in the regard that it deserves to be.
I am proud to share that Pashom has already become a part of discussion and appreciation at other universities, forums and countries. I am more than pleased that at this juncture, where I still await my graduation degree; my project has attained the desired visibility and is on the intended path.

I am of the firm belief that for a great venture to succeed, it is only vital that it is comprehended, discerned and supported by other great individuals and groups as well. My journey with Pashom wouldn’t have been the same without the unwavering support, mentoring, incubation and evaluation of my ideas, presentations, beliefs and vision, which were backed by my mentor, teachers and other faculty members of Pearl Academy. Pearl has given me the much-needed platform to meet, learn and get inspired from the industry leaders, shapers, and makers of our society. I have inculcated deep aspirations to speak, discuss and enhance my business ethics, ideas, formation and persuasion at a platform which is further devoted to building better people, businesses, community and world. I cannot think of a better rostrum which connects so many entrepreneurs, start-ups, ideas, innovations and visions at one place, and embraces them with widened scope of horizons, opportunities, and avenues to explore and build a better future for the society. I am grateful and proud to be a Pearlite.

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