Pak bagpipes make Scots dance

Himalayan News Service

London, April 26:

It sounds as bizarre as selling Indian whisky in Scotland - a cheeky businessman from Pakistan is selling traditional Scottish bagpipes and kilts made in his country! Nadeem Bhatti has, in fact, opened a shop on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, selling his wares made in Pakistan. He runs a bagpipes factory in Sialkot, a town that has some Scottish influence dating back to the British rule. The bagpipes and kilts industry in Sialkot goes back to the days of the British Raj, when locals manufactured bagpipes and kilts for the Scots regiment posted in the sub-continent.

Bhatti, who often wears a sporran and kilt, said, “This is a great opportunity to offer people better and cheaper kilts.” Bhatti and his family have been churning out pipes for over a 100 years. His great-grandfather founded British India’s first bagpipes works at the turn of the 19th Century. Now Bhatti has taken it a step further by opening a shop right in the heart of the Scottish capital’s tartan gift shop territory. Having extended its range to include every bit of highland gear imaginable, Bhatti sells up to 3,000 sets of bagpipes and 10,000 kilts a year, mostly over the internet, in Scotland, Canada and America. At around 200 pounds a set, Bhatti’s bagpipes are also much cheaper than those made in this country, which start at around 1,000 pounds. Pakistani bagpipes are, however, mostly made of softer woods than the African hardwood favoured by Scottish pipe makers.