Craft and Commerce
Commerce is ultimately about credibility. If credibility comes under question it is only a matter of time for the markets to witness the disappearance of the commerce. This core principle of business is known to all and applies alike – from a road side vendor to a multi national corporate house. Those who want to stay in business guard credibility like the lone son of an aged couple. All the other hardships in a business can be overcome as long as the trust in the customers exists. The news that the CCIK – the chamber of commerce and industries Kashmir -has urged government to come clean on what does 'fake shawls' mean deserves comment.
The point that surfaces up here is that if there are any suspicions about some fake products being sold in the handicrafts market in Kashmir it should be clearly articulated and precisely identified. The vague notions of certain things being fraudulently sold in the market as their original equivalents can result in a huge loss to the traditional market of the valley. Since it is a season of tourists coming to Kashmir and handicraft market is closely associated with tourism industry such talk is even more dangerous. Putting it plainly, the concerned agencies in the government, that are looking after such things, must do a detailed survey of the market and identify what can possibly constitute a fake product. Issuing general precautionary remarks and may be circulating it in the potential customers is not the way to go ahead. Here CCIK has a very valid point.
But there is also another side to the story. World over things are bing branded and patented. The international trend to defend the products in the markets and vigilantly observe the quality standards is nothing new to be underlined. But in Kashmir we don't seem to be even making a start on the path of representing our products the way others around the world do it. We have a whole range of products in the handicraft sector to which the name Kashmir is associated as if from eternity. These products have a perennial market as the aesthetic, antique and exotic form a permanent part of human nature. It is not just what could be randomly called as utility that makes things sell. There are other forces deeply embedded in the human nature that are always at work when it comes to spending money. Keeping this thing in mind it goes without saying that Kashmiri market has to respond to the permanent and changing patterns of marketing. The observance of quality and credibility are the two foundational pillars of the trade that have to be kept straight and strong. For this purpose the trade bodies, and of course the government agencies have to work in tandem. A strict quality control, effective ways of identifying the fake products, an efficient redress mechanism in case any customer is cheated by a vendor, and an always upgraded information about the products and the chain of selling – from maker to the retailer – are the areas that need to be looked after jointly by the government agencies and the trade bodies. After all it is this section of Kashmiri market that has supported us economically from centuries. It can not be allowed to die by a people who know its worth. It not only fetches us money but also is a part of our identity. If we can really guard this market and follow the principles of business and ethics in this, we can better represent ourselves before the diverse people who come here as tourists and also those who buy these products in the markets outside J&K.
So the perfunctory and off hand notices dished out to traders is only counterproductive. It not only fails to curb the erring, but also brings slur to the entire market. And this is not a good idea at all to serve an enduring section of our economy.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 28 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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