Rizwan Shafi Wani/Srinagar
In the changing environment in Kashmir, men and women are taking to fashion in a big way, and in the process, new job avenues are opening up. One such dynamic professional is Mubashir Bashir Baig, a popular tattoo artist from Kashmir Valley who not only makes intricate tattoos on the body but also offers tips on sizes and designs suitable for those who love 'ink art'.
Mubashir Bashir, who hails from the Bamina area of Srinagar city, is the only tattoo artist in the Kashmir Valley. "I started a tattoo shop five years ago," he told Awaz-the Voice. “I am the first tattoo artist in the valley. I have thousands of clients, including young girls. Not only do I make tattoos, but I also do body piercing. This fashion trend is also gaining popularity in Kashmir. Piercing is also popular among girls.
He says piercing has become a fashion. This is done by young boys and girls by piercing any part of their body and putting a small ring in it. It has become a trend among the youth to wear diamond or gold rings on the lips, tongue, eyelids, and abdomen.
Due to western culture, the popularity of body painting has increased in Kashmir Valley as well as in different cities of the country.
According to Mubashir Bashir, tattooing is on the rise in Kashmir. When I started this business 5 years ago, I used to get one or two clients. Now I get 15 to 20 customers daily.
The Ink art designs made by Mubashir Bashir
“Clients come from different parts of the valley and some even from outside Kashmir. Tourists are also coming to get tattoos. Some tourists even ask to get pictures of beautiful places of Kashmir tattooed on their bodies. So far, I have made tattoos on the bodies of about 30,000 people. ”
People get tattoos to express their thoughts and this culture has greatly influenced the youth. The number of clients in his studio is increasing with each passing day.
Mubashir Bashir, a commerce graduate, first resorted to YouTube to learn the art of Tattooing. He was obsessed with it and to learn more about it he reached Mumbai. Five years ago, he returned to Srinagar and started his studio called 'Mobiz Tattoo', the first of its kind in the valley. ۔
After that, he started working in a private company in Hyderabad. At the same time, I tried to learn this art through YouTube.
Mubashir Bashir with his instruments
"I used to do painting and sketching but I wanted to do something different. I got interested in becoming a tattoo artist after which I quit my job and moved to Punjab where I did a 6-month diploma to specialize.
He worked in various cities including Mumbai, Delhi, and Punjab to hone his skills. “Today, I am a professional artist,” he says.
The journey was not easy for Mubashir Bashir. He had to work hard to learn this art; everyone was against him.
"When I stepped into this arena, people were very narrow-minded," he says. People used to look at me narrowly and tease me but I did not pay attention to their words and kept doing my job. It is people's job to point fingers. But if the intentions are high then man can do anything. I decided that what I needed to do was learn how to do it right.
For Mubashir Bashir, tattooing is both an art and a business. He has also worked in different cities of the country. He says tattooing is cheap in Kashmir. When I was working outside a few years ago, we used to charge fifteen hundred rupees. Here I now take Rs.500. According to him, the process of getting a tattoo takes more than an hour. Tattoos on the bones are very difficult because it causes more pain.
He never gave up and moved on. Now his business is also growing rapidly.