Leaving a footprint: Shikari chappals cobble up a storm in the city

An advertisement of Jahangir’s shop. PHOTO: EXPRESS

An advertisement of Jahangir’s shop. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: The kaptaan chappal, which took the city’s markets by storm a while ago, now has a rival. Unlike the footwear specimen that preceded it, the shikari chappal does not pay tribute to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan. This time around, the chappal maestro who developed the idea decided to shift their focus to the other side of the political spectrum. Their latest offering was made for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The chappal was named ‘shikari’ to pay tribute to the tiger, PML-N’s election symbol.

With the formula of success clenched tightly in his hand, Haji Jahangir, one of Peshawar’s oldest chappal maestros, worked on the footwear with a view to bring glory and acclaim for his shop, Asli Jahangir Mohmand Safi Chappal Maker, the 60-year-old’s family has been selling Peshawari chappals for around six decades.

Subtle details

About the history of Peshawari chappal, he said it was first introduced in the region in 1952 by a man known as Ustad Alaf Din who worked at Royal Chappal in Abbottabad. Gradually, it became popular in Peshawar and Charsadda district.

“Charsadda chappals are different from Peshawari chappals,” he says. “The former have a single design with a narrow opening in the front. It is created with hard leather. The Charsadda chappal is also worn by women in Fata, particularly in Mohmand and Khyber Agency till the late 1970s. However the trend of wearing them has practically vanished owing to the vast varieties of footwear sold these days.” He said Peshawari chappals have more than 30 designs and are sold at a price between Rs1,600 and Rs10,000.


“We have been making chappals for country’s VIPs for several years,” he said. “However, I haven’t had the honour of making a chappal for Nawaz Sharif until this January.”

The prime minister paid a visit to Peshawar and wanted a pair of Peshawari chappals. Awami National Party leader Ghulam Bilour asked Jahangir to provide the prime minister with a pair of chappals. “I went to take measurements so I could make him an exclusive pair of chappals,” Jahangir said, smiling as she puts finishing touches on a shikari chappal.

Popular souvenirs

A large number of politicians have worn Peshawari chappals made by Jahangir’s shop. Chappals from the shop have also been exported to the expatriate community in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Australia, England, Germany and Malaysia.

Shikari chappal is prepared with tiger’s leather, which is rare in the market. Jahangir said the use of tiger’s leather is banned in the market. However, he manages to find it for the customers who wish to wear shikari chappal.

The shikari chappal is preferred by customers over kaptaan chappals owing to a variety of reasons.

“The leather used in shikari chappal is softer as compared to the leather used in the kaptaan chappal,” he said. “Secondly, shikari chappal does not have a sweaty sole made of foam, like the one like used in kaptaan chappal.”

When asked about the price, Jahangir said he had not set a price for shikari chappal as he considers it a priceless gift. He said it takes up to three months to make a single pair of shikari chappals.

Passionate about his creation, Jahangir said, “These chappals were not introduced for commercial reasons. It is a tribute to the services render by Sharif family for the country.”

Jahangir’s own political support lies elsewhere. Shikari chappal have a limited and specific clientele owing to the leather used in making them. The cost of it is also just as rare and exclusive.

At his shop, a pair of kaptaan chappal sits proudly next to the shikari chappal sporting a price tag of between Rs2,000 and Rs3000. “Many online sellers and some shops in our market are selling kaptaan chappal at double the price and deceiving the customers. This is wrong.”

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1156006/leaving-footprint-shikari-chappals-cobble-storm-city/