An embroider’s emotional connect with Phulkari
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An embroider’s emotional connect with Phulkari

My love for Phulkari has a connection to the times of partition, says Manila

An embroider’s emotional connect with Phulkari

New Delhi: Phulkari is a very famous embroidery of Punjab which derives floral work in which the word 'Phul' means flower and 'Kari' means work together. It is defined as 'flower work embroidery'.  Even today in many houses, weaving, dyeing and embroidery works of Phulkari are randomly done. Phulkari is many times termed as Punjabi style of embroidery.

However, Manila Jain, 36, residing in Amritsar has heard about Phulkari works being done since the time of the India-Pakistan partition. She has done her graduation in textile design and now she has started her small business where she alone designs Phulkari and also trains few girls on the embroidery work.

Manila said, “Phulkari is an emotion for me and there is a reason behind it. I have been seeing Phulkari works which were created since the time of partition.” Her grandfather’s family was one of the families who suffered during the India-Pakistan partition. Her grandfather was not able to escape and remained in Pakistan while the rest of the family including his wife stayed in India.

Manila said, “My grandfather and grandmother were apart for months during that turmoil. They were having no scope of communication, no phone call, or internet at that time, only a piece of Phulkari remained with my Nani (grandmother) as the epitome of their love.”

She also added that Phulkari was the only thing that linked them to the day of their marriage. Just like every thread of Phulkari, they were distinct from each other but lived as one.

Fortunately, their struggle came to a beautiful end and her grandfather managed to come to India and reunited with the family. All this time, her grandmother only had a Phulkari to hold in the absence of her husband.

It remained as a breath of fresh air amidst the testing times. “Phulkari has been with us through my generations in the family,” says Manila.

She also added that her grandfather is no more but her grandmother gave her a piece of Phulkari that connected her with her husband. “Such intricate Phulkari is difficult to find today,” says Manila. She said, “Phulkari in its original form is very tough but we have strived to inculcate it into modern silhouettes and motifs to make it comfortable to wear in daily life.”