An educated youth from south Kashmir’s Kulgam, after failing to secure a job, finally joined his family’s decades-old work of running a watermill, locally known as ‘Aab-e-Gratte.’
This mill, now obsolete, has been running in Kashmir for centuries and is powered by fast-flowing water channeled from streams that turn the heavy grindstones, producing pure flour.
Showkat Ahmad Padder, a resident of Bathipora Nehama hamlet of Kulgam, is pursuing Masters in Political Science.
Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Showkat said he failed to get any job amid rising unemployment. “So, I decided to operate the watermill that was being run by my family for decades. This way I will keep the tradition alive and also earn some money whatever it is,” he said.
Being jobless, I would have slipped into depression, but I decided to operate the watermill to earn a livelihood, he said.
His neighbour, Ghulam Qadir Padder, who is also operating the ‘Gratte’ for decades, said it is environment-friendly but largely forgotten due to rapid industrialisation and technology. He said ‘Aab-e-Gratte’ is rapidly losing the demand to the modern mills.
Qadir said a ‘Gratte’ owner had a better social status in the village as the family could afford both food grains and earn money as a service charge on grinding. Such traditional watermills are rare now, he said.