Online therapy: Hala Kashigar

March 28, 2021

It’s delightful that set-ups like Hala Kashigar have established a solid base for local artisans and their skills to be projected and promoted

Looking for the perfect bird bath? Look no further.

The more aware and conscious we become of our existence, the more we come to appreciate things that run the risk of extinction. Indigenous craft, anywhere in the world, is considered priceless and while Pakistan has been rather slow in getting with the global program, it’s delightful that set-ups like Hala Kashigar have established a solid base for local artisans and their skills to be projected and promoted.

For me, the joy of subscribing to the Hala Kashigar Instagram page and spending time going through their delightful products, was beyond measure. We’re all becoming more and more aware of our craft as well as carbon footprint – we all want to be as responsible as possible – and so minimizing the use of plastic and artificial products and upping the use of clay and ceramic pottery in our homes is a must-quest. I love the urns and plates and bowls on the Hala Kashigar page but my first search was for the perfect bird bath and boy, did I find the perfect match here!

Hala Kashigar signature bird baths come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours but with summer creeping up on us so rapidly in Karachi, I wanted a bowl with depth and of considerable size so the birds could drink as well as take a dip whenever they felt like it. I chose a mellow shade of orange to match the gul-mohar tree blossoms that fall into my garden. And of course, I was curious to learn more of the bird bath’s trail of existence.

Officially launched a couple of years ago, Hala Kashigar is the brainchild of Sindhyar Makhdoom, son of the late politician Makhdoom Amin Faheem. Hailing from Hala in rural Sindh, Sindhyar started this venture with a passion to economically empower the local artisans and preserve the crafts.

“All our products are manufactured in my personal workshop in Hala,” Sindhyar shared, in conversation with Instep. “The idea is to try to raise our craft to international standards (inshallah). My family and I all hail from Hala and my father (other than being a senior politician and poet) was also 18th spiritual leader of Sarwari Jamaat in Hala.

The first was Makhdoom Sarwar Nooh, who translated the Holy Quran in Persian and allowed many to revert back to Islam. Point being, it was in many ways through our ancestral history that many poets and local artisans made way to our village, which became a hub for trade. The first Kashi work was actually done on our family dargha (Shrine) where are loved ones have been laid to rest.”

What makes Hala Kashigar products stand out is obviously the craft but also the design that smartly combines tradition with contemporary trends. It’s not obsolete and doesn’t look dated.

“If I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be our handcrafted stools, tall planters and 3-tier fountains,” Sindhiyar says.

I do hope that my orange bird bath becomes a favourite for the birds too!

Online therapy: Hala Kashigar