Gas Samovar: Upgrading Traditions

When grassroots innovators from across the state showcased their inventions at the annual innovation festival held  in New Delhi earlier this year, Shazia, a 26-year-old school dropout from the south Kashmir’s Qazigund area, had no idea that her experiments with the traditional Kashmiri Samovar will bring accolades to her as well as to  the state. As the festival went on, Shazia’s confidence got a boost with experts and the visitors showing much interest in her innovation. Shazia, as she explains, had modified the Samovar and now it works on gas instead of coal.  The festival that began on March 7 this year culminated after seven days. On, March 13, the winners of the festival were declared and Shazia, to her surprise, bagged first prize. She was awarded with Rs 50,000 and the second award was received by Abdul Rehman Sada, a resident of Pattan, for his herbal medicine for reducing the blood pressure.The awardees were felicitated by president, Pranab Mukherjee, at the end of the festival hosted by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The awards were a part of the president’s 8th National Presidential Biennial Awards for Grassroots Innovations and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge. It took Shazia several years to modify the gas samovar. “One day, some guests paid a surprise visit to our home   but we had no means to prepare a tea for them. It was embarrassing. Since that day, I began tweaking with the samovar,” Shazia says. Lack of resources and disinterest among the family members were hurdles in her path but Shazia continued to work on her project.

“My family members would get annoyed seeing me take the Samovar to pieces, but I managed somehow.”

“Yes, the time was tough and demanding, but I didn’t give up and worked continuously with dedication and then it was like a dream come true. Seeing my idea working in deed was the moment of pride for me,” she adds.

She says that she attached the gas pipe to the fire cylinder of the samovar and later, on modified it. The modification, she adds, makes this conventional Samovar better as it works without coal. “This adjustment takes the untidy components out but maintains the traditional status of the Samovar,” she claims. She says that the modification of the Samovar was intended for domestic purposes only. “Somehow, the news about this innovation reached National Innovation Foundation (NIF) and they patented it,” she adds.

“Later on, I was also called to attend the science exhibitions in Kashmir University and given some financial assistance to make the replica of my innovation.”

Chairman Gian Cell JK, Prof GM Butt, articulates support for Shazia’s innovation saying that they have provided her the required amount for a number of prototypes and have proposed her full support for marketing of the gas Samovar.

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