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Manpreet Kaur


In this era of western culture…a daughter of Punjab is contributing to preserve our heritage

With passing time, we are forgetting the rich heritage of Punjab by adopting Western civilization. Our culture, heritage and background have become part of an exhibition. In ancient times, stitching mats, shawls and phulkaris used to be the hobbies of Punjabi women. But nowadays instead of stitching Phulkaris, women doesn’t even like to wear them. Our new generation may not even know what Phulkari is?

In this era of western civilization, there is one girl of Punjab who is trying to maintain our heritage. Graduate in economics, Manpreet Kaur from Tarn Taran district, manufactures Phulkaris. After completing her studies, Manpreet wanted to help her family due to financial constraints at home. Manpreet’s grandmother and mother used to make Phulkaris. One day suddenly Manpreet caught sight of a Phulkari in her grandmother’s trunk. So she thought of starting a business of Phulkari manufacturing. To make her thinking a reality, Manpreet shared her thoughts with her friends. But her friends refused this idea by saying that there is no profit in this business and nowadays people do not like such stuff. Everybody said that there was no point in doing this.

“My friends said this is a backward thing, nobody likes it. This forced me to think about why people consider it backward. To find the answer of this why was very important.” – Manpreet Kaur

After this, Manpreet started making efforts to revive her heritage. In 2015, with the help of a group of 5 women, she made five Phulkaris. After making the Phulkaris she thought where to sell them now? For this purpose, she started searching the internet, from which she found that there is a government organization that buys Phulkaris. Manpreet showed those 5 Phulkaris to the organization and they took those for sale. The organization used to pay the money after the Phulkaris were sold. Because of this, Manpreet received the money after two or three months, making it difficult to keep up with the house. The same continued for a year.

“My parents put their every penny into this, because they believed in me that I could do it.” – Manpreet Kaur

After working in this manner for a year, she thought that this could not work, as she had to pay the rest of the group members. So she took the help of Internet. She created a page on social media. But here too people didn’t show much interest in buying Phulkari. Due to this, Manpreet thought that what people consider backward, why not give it a modern look?

To give our culture a bit of modern look, we started making Phulkari designs on light duppatas, so that girls could carry them with jeans. – Manpreet Kaur

This method of Manpreet proved to be quite effective. This increased the sales of their Phulkari. In this group, 20-30 women from the city were working, but Manpreet wanted to integrate with the village women too, as they are more aware of their heritage and culture and have considerable experience in this work. But it is very difficult for women in the villages to come out and work. Therefore, Manpreet herself comes to the women in the villages and gives them the material of Phulkari manufacturing, so that they do not face any problem. Manpreet’s initiative brought employment to women who could not work outside the home.

Through the internet, Manpreet’s group got their first order from abroad. They received an order of 40 Phulkaris to give as gift at the wedding. The Phulkaris sent under this order were greatly favoured, which increased the demand for their Phulkaris abroad. Foreign media also helped Manpreet’s group. They promoted Manpreet’s interview through video call, which resulted in receiving many more orders from overseas, such as Canada, United States, etc. Senior journalist Baltej Singh Pannu shared Manpreet’s post on social media, which helped her a lot.

People from abroad likes Phulkaris more than Punjab. Most of our clients are from overseas. – Manpreet Kaur

Along with this, a number of students from various colleges comes to Manpreet for training and internship.

Manpreet has received many awards due to her efforts in preserving our heritage, some of which are mentioned below:
  • Honoured at Hamdard Virasati Mela
  • Sirjanhari award by PTC Punjabi channel

Due to these efforts, Manpreet has also been made Brand Ambassador of Tarn Taran District.

Future Plans

In the upcoming time, Manpreet wants to make this business of Phulkari popular in India as well, so that the future generations will understand their rich heritage.

“The younger generation should make efforts to preserve their legacy. This work may also create job opportunities. Women who can’t go out and work can do it staying at home and it can be a source of income for them.”