by Aasıya Nazir
SRINAGAR: Nazar Nasir, a Sher-e-Khaas boy left his chosen academic path to follow his dream of crocheting stereotyped as an art pursued by women folk in the subcontinent.
Crocheting is a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a textured fabric by means of a hooked needle known as a crochet hook.
In 2016, Nazar, a self-taught artist, who has a degree in literature decided to break the gender stereotype associated with crocheting. He informed his parents that he was going to pursue this handicraft as a full-time career. Nazar’s parents became his biggest supporters.
“It all started during 2016’s Kashmir unrest. I was at my aunt’s house where she was making a sweater. I asked her to teach me and then when the internet was restored, I learned that this handicraft is called crocheting,” Nazar said.
However, knowing the art was the first step because Nazar went on to start a part-time business employing his skills.
Like every stereotype, this also wasn’t easy to break. Nazar faced criticism initially for mastering something perceived as feminine in the sub-continent.
“It was quite challenging for me to perform something that women typically do here in Kashmir. Knitting and crocheting are seen as too feminine a vocation to be taken up by men,” he said.
He says that crocheting is also a lucrative business that the unemployed youth in Kashmir can pursue. “When I first started, I would just do crocheting for fun or when my relatives asked for something. However, after properly learning the craft, I sell my products.”
He received significant commercial growth from social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Also, word-of-mouth publicity has helped his business expand.
He says it makes him happy when people call him the “male crocheter of Kashmir.”