“Today most people know me by Amin-bin-Khaliq; very few know my real name”
Srinagar, Aug 30: When it is talk of quality Kashmir dry fruit, saffron and honey, one name that strikes the mind is Amin-bin-Khaliq. Set up way back in 1975 at city’s main tourist market, Poloview, Amin-bin-Khaliq has eventually become a favourite shop for the tourists visiting the Valley.
“Ours is tourist-oriented business. Tourists prefer our products. There are in fact many tourists, who are regularly visiting this outlet for past 25 years,” said Noor-ul-Amin, proprietor of shop.
Hailing from Srinagar, Amin before starting this business had been in the field of art. He had started his artistic career from theatre. “After completing my graduation from S P College, Srinagar in 1970s, I went for an interview to Pune Film and TV Institute in Mumbai, however I was not able to get admission there. Then I worked as an assistant at Nassir Hussain Films, Mumbai, for a few months,” he recalls.
Amin has also worked in some serials of Doordarshan Srinagar. But destiny had something different in store for him. “My parents did not like that line and insisted me to come out of that. Since my ancestors had been pioneers in timber export, my elders wanted me too in the same line,” said Amin.
After he came back to Srinagar, he realized that the Poloview market had many shops of handicraft items, but did not have even a single shop of dry fruits. “So I thought I should start this trade,” said Amin.
“Even otherwise, I have always believed that Kashmiri dry fruits and saffron are unique in the world, hence must be presented before the other parts of the world,” he said.
At Amin-bin-Khaliq, they sell all varieties of dry fruits, saffron and honey. Known for hygiene, excellent presentation and quality products, Amin-bin-Khaliq has become a “symbol” for Kashmiri dry fruits.
“Today most of the people know me by the name Amin-bin-Khaliq; very few know that my real name is something else,” said Amin.
He said they make sure to keep only grade-1 products at their outlet. “And it is the excellent quality of our products that makes us different from the others,” said Amin.
“When customers appreciate our products and visit us for another time, this gives us an indication that they are satisfied with the quality of our products,” he said.
“We get maximum items from Kashmir. For instance, we get apricots from Kargil, saffron from Pampore, honey and almonds from the Valley itself and so on,” said Amin. The firm at present is exporting honey to the Middle East.
Amin-bin-Khaliq was firstly awarded in 1975-76 by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for the best dry fruits and then in 2005-06. Now again at the recently held KCCI awards function at SKICC, the firm won the second prize in horticulture, agriculture and floriculture category for the years 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Amin’s hard work and struggle are what actually have borne him the fruits. “I have struggled a lot and have come across many ups and downs in my life. During the peak-militancy period, I was shot at by army as a result I lost two fingers in my right hand. But then also I did not leave my work. I bore all the hardships, but did not change the profession. I am thankful to Almighty Allah for taking me to the position where I am today,” said Amin.
“Now I am looking forward to take this business to further heights,” he said.
Amin insisted upon promoting the brand Kashmir. “We have got a world-class brand, which unfortunately has not been given the kind of attention it deserves. Once I found the word ‘Cashmere’ written in a woolen shop in England, it makes me happy,” he said.
He said people should sell their products by their actual name. “Some stalls at Boulevard here sell A itsar products in the name of Kashmir, which should not be done,” he said.
Besides, Amin has got all concern for Dal Lake and other natural assets of Kashmir. He said people must join hands to save the natural scenic beauty of the Valley.
“We have inscribed on our carry bags and packets messages like: ‘Save Dal Lake, Save Panoramic Beauty of Srinagar’ and ‘Save Dal Lake- It’s a jewel in the crown’,” said Amin.
“I am very much concerned about the health of the Dal Lake. Almighty has bestowed us with such a unique gift in the world, but we don’t look after it in a proper manner. Dal Lake has got a tremendous significance in Kashmiri civilization. Many of the tourists visit Kashmir only for Dal lake. So we should try our best to save the lake,” he said.