By Bilal Kuchay
A Pakistani barber is giving intricate haircut to camels and creating fascinating designs on their coats- using just a pair of scissors.
Ali Hassan, 48, a talented camel hair designer from a small village in Naushero Feroze, travels over 200 miles to Asia’s biggest cattle market in Karachi every year, weeks ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha to earn extra money by using his talent to create beautiful art work on camels.
Muslims around the world sacrifice livestock including camel in a centuries-old ritual central to one of their most sacred festivals, Eid-ul-azha.
Families are expected to sacrifice good-quality animals and then divide the usable meat into three. One part they consume themselves, another goes to friends, and the final third is given to the poor.
The art work is not only making the long-limbs cattle look attractive but increase their value in the market as well.
Ali explained: “Thousands of people visit this cattle market every day to buy animals for sacrifice on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
“The art work on the camel body makes them very attractive and increases their prices as buyers usually prefer the most beautiful camel.
“With this kind of artistry, the camel traders get anywhere between £90 and £150 more for their camels compared to the simple ones.”
Ali, who has learnt the camel hair designing from his forefathers, starts his job by taking a few measurements with the help of a rope, so that both sides of the camel’s body look similar.
He then makes an arc followed by a big circle in the centre and squares in the upper and lower part of the circle then carves intricate designs inside the big circle and squares.
The result of his patience and determination are these breath-taking designs.
“This job needs lot of patience and determination.
“Every day I work for almost 13 to 14 hours. Sometimes my fingers swell up with pain.
“But this is the season I wait for all the year as I can earn over £1000 in few weeks compared to my monthly income of £200.
“It takes me six to seven hours to create patterns on a camel,” said Ali.
The cattle-traders are also cashing on Ali’s incredible talent as because of his designs on camel’s coat, they get swarmed by demands from buyers.
Najmul Sheikh, a camel trader, said: “Earlier there was not much demand for Ali’s work but now everybody wants him to design his camels so that they can find prospective buyers for their animals.
“The artwork fascinates people, mostly children.
“I have brought 20 camels from my hometown, Thar and I’m hopeful that after Ali’s magic I will earn a good money this year.”