Nazar Nasir: Kashmir’s only male crochet artist breaks gender stereotypes

From a tiny flower to a booming online business


February 22, 2024

/ By / Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

Nazar Nasir: Kashmir’s only male crochet artist breaks gender stereotypes

Nazar Nasir took to crochet as a career option in the aftermath of abrogation of Article 370 in 2019

Challenging centuries-old gender stereotypes, Nazar Nasir, a crochet artist in Jammu and Kashmir is weaving a new story through his vibrant threads of creativity.

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In a region where rigid norms often dictate career choices, 24-year-old Nazar Nasir, a resident of Lal Bazar in Srinagar, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is weaving a new narrative as the only male crochet artist in the Union Territory as his designs not only showcase his talent but also challenge societal norms.

A student of literature in Amar Singh college in Srinagar, four years ago Nasir abandoned his chosen academic path to follow his dream of crocheting, despite the fact that crocheting is stereotyped as an art pursued by women folk in the Indian subcontinent.

“I embarked upon this journey into the world of crafts during the 2016 unrest when the Kashmir was under lockdown. I was at my aunt’s house where she was making a sweater. I asked her to teach me. I was so fascinated with this art that I bought myself a hook and some yarn and started experimenting. I used to stay up till late in the night trying to figure out how it worked and finally, I ended up creating a tiny flower. But at that time I didn’t even know the name of this art. It was only when the internet was restored that I was able to learn about this craft and since then I have never left the craft of crocheting,” Nasir tells Media India Group.

Nazar Nasir’s creations

Crochet is the process of creating textiles by using a crochet hook to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other material. Crocheting has been a well-known art amongst Kashmiris but it has been mostly pursued by women for decades. It is rare to find men practicing crochet, let alone make it their career choice. Nasir says he, too, faced the hurdles posed by gender stereotypes, especially when he had just started it.

“When I first started I would just do it for fun but with time my family and friends started to praise my work then I decided to venture into selling my creations online. Earlier I was a bit hesitant as normally men are not associated with crochet but I took it as a challenge. In 2018, I created an Instagram handle ‘Knotty Crafts’ to share my work. I was surprised when people started praising my work. Orders for my crochet works began to pour in quickly, and it grew into a small business, subsequently. My business is now growing exponentially day by day,” he adds.

Nasir says he gets all his orders from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and his fame is spreading not just in the country, but also overseas. “Recently I got an order from Canada which was delivered within days,” he adds.

Macramé art by Nazar Nasir

Nasir is said to be the only male macramé artist in India right now. He attributes his success to the support from his family, notably his parents, who, he says, have always given him the freedom to pursue whatever interests him, be it academics or hobbies.

“It was quite challenging for me to perform something that women typically do here in Kashmir. Crocheting and knitting carry a strong social stigma of being a ‘feminine’ or ‘grandma’s’ craft. People are often surprised to see a young boy like me practising this craft.  But I believe that no craft or job is associated with any particular gender, if you are truly passionate about what you do, you will be able to silence all the critics and force them to appreciate. I believe that turning to crochet and knitting can be transformative for younger generations. Introducing these creative outlets as alternatives to digital gadgets can help positively channel their creativity and nurture their overall development,” Nasir adds.

Keen to put to practice what he preaches, Nasir has also begun conducting online crochet classes for students who want to learn the craft. Nasir says so far 20 students, who hail from Kashmir and other parts of India, have signed up for the classes and among them 3 are males.



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