ANI Photo | Meet Saima Shafi Mir – Kashmiri potter girl on a mission to revive dying art

Saima Shafi Mir, popularly known as “Kral Koor” (potter girl in Kashmiri), has not only revived the dying art but has also become a youth influencer, inspiring a new generation to embrace the pottery wheel.
Despite facing backlash, Saima is slowly establishing a name in the field.
“Society often imposes limitations on what women can achieve. I want to break those barriers and show that we are capable of much more,” Saima Shafi Mir said.
Besides being a civil engineer in the Public Works Department of Jammu and Kashmir, she decided to revive the dying art form in 2018.
“I realized that pottery was not just an art form; It was a part of our cultural heritage that was fading away. I couldn’t sit back,” She added
However, her progress was hampered by the challenges posed by the abrogation of Article 370 and subsequent COVID-19 restrictions, which cost her three precious years. Nevertheless, Saima remained resolute, dedicating herself to her passion.
Saima’s tireless efforts took her to numerous pottery centres across Kashmir, where she conducted workshops and engaged in discussions with seasoned potters. “I wanted to learn from the masters, to understand the intricacies of the craft and its historical significance. Their guidance has been invaluable,” Saima reflects, highlighting the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the pottery community.
Recognizing the importance of raising awareness on a larger scale, Saima took her message beyond the local community. She actively participated in various events and platforms, sharing her journey and the significance of preserving Kashmiri pottery.
“Art has the power to transcend boundaries and bring people together. By showcasing our heritage on national and international platforms, we can make a lasting impact,” Saima said.
Saima’s passion and dedication have not only caught the attention of government officials but have also inspired many young individuals. Witnessing her work on social media, numerous youngsters started creating reels and sharing content about potters and pottery, effectively amplifying the revival movement.
“Saima’s journey has shown us that our dreams are within reach. We now have the confidence to pursue our passions, no matter what society says,” said a young artist.
A similar story unfolds with Shaheena, a young girl from a potter family in Budgam. In the past, she used to secretly practice at the wheel when no one was home. While she actively assisted her father in preparing the clay, operating the wheel was strongly discouraged due to societal prejudices. Shaheena vividly remembers her parents expressing concerns about the potential difficulties of finding a suitable match for a girl associated with pottery.
However, everything changed when Shaheena witnessed the widespread acclaim and recognition received by Saima Shafi Mir’s pottery creations. Impressed and moved by Kralkoor’s achievements, her parents had a change of heart and granted Shaheena permission to spin the wheel freely. Saima’s work not only shattered societal stereotypes but also opened doors of opportunity for young girls like Shaheena, enabling them to pursue their passion without fear or hesitation.
Despite her immense contributions and dedication to the revival of pottery in Kashmir, Saima Shafi Mir has faced undeserved backlash and online abuse. Detractors sought to diminish her abilities and expertise, but she stood strong, refusing to let negativity deter her.
“I believe that criticism comes when you are doing something meaningful. It only makes me more determined to prove them wrong,” asserts Saima, while emphasizing the importance of resilience in the face of adversity.
Saima’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. The handicrafts department, inspired by the overwhelming response from artisans and the local community, has decided to collect data on pottery artisans to develop support schemes for them.
“Saima’s work has opened our eyes to the potential of our traditional arts. We are committed to providing the necessary resources and support to ensure the continued growth of the pottery industry,” a government official said.
The impact of Saima’s journey extends beyond her own artistic endeavours. Her commitment to promoting and reviving the art of pottery has sparked a resurgence of interest among the youth, instilling a sense of pride in their cultural heritage.
“Saima has shown us that pursuing our passions is not only possible but also important. She has inspired us to break free from societal expectations and explore our creative side,” a young female artist said

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