Impact of Social Media in Revival and Emergence of Phulkari Embroidery

RajinderKaur & Ila Gupta, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India

Volume V, Number 2, 2015. Download PDF Version


Social media is a medium of communication, which spread information and knowledge through various resources. In this age of globalization, each and every sphere, related with the existence of human-beings has been covered by social media. The promotion and revival of traditional antiquities has also been channelized through digital resources. In this context, the folk art of Punjab, which is called Phulkari has developed and improvised through various media including social networking (Facebook and Twitter), websites, e-papers, blogs, and so on. This body of communication has contributed a lot in respect of spreading awareness about Phulkari and making this embroidery more commercial than its previous status. Media is also a major component in the development of Phulkari after making this art recognizable worldwide. Before the establishment of social media, Phulkari is almost on the verge of vanishing but after intimidating with social media, it is not only revived but also get popular among numerous art lovers and fashion designers. Thus, the paper is an attempt to trace the role of social media in the revival of Phulkari after discussing some digital resources. In this context, some websites and other online databases could be an area of study to map their contribution for its promotion. Therefore, the women of Punjab have been empowered through the contribution of social media and digitalization.

Key words: Culture, Communication, Social Media, Internet, Publicity


Small communication devices are used for accessing social networks any time anywhere with the speedy growth of exposed technology. In these devices, pocket computers, laptops, notebooks, tablet computers, and smart phones etc have been used through internet. Internet has changed the way of education, shopping, interaction etc. People can done any work very easily with less expanses and time from anywhere with internet. The globalization of internet has changed the life of every person in which people interact with others and share views, knowledge, interest, likes and dislikes goals across the world. People across the world share their views, knowledge about the culture, language, music, life style and value of life through communication of social media. According to sawery the first requirement of people for using the social media in their daily life have to increase their connection and interaction with other people (Sawyer 2011). Social media is a key in the form of Facebook, blogs, wikis and digital stories etc., which unlock all boundaries for all religion, castes, age group, and people to interact and share information, ideas, and knowledge with each others. Social media have the potential to revolutionize the way of our perceptions, understandings, and common analysis of realism on an interpersonal and a community level.

According to the words of Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, social media is “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Social media is a way of communication in which, people share their views through blogs; images video, events, news and stories and also participated in discussion and share their thoughts within seconds. Social media become a very essential part of life in which education marketing, learning, production, social status, and day to day life progress faster. Social media is a medium of conversation and a resource to innovate new design for upcoming society. Social media somehow helps people to become socialize in the society. There has not any limitation to the individual person, company, organization, government to interact with anyone or a large number of peoples. It plays important role in education in which web sites provide so much knowledge to students and to interact with others for increasing their knowledge and getting communication skills. Today social media has become a major part of our life in which we know about the reality of world in few seconds at a very low cost. The businessmen increase the status of their business through social media in which they interact with other businessmen and also consumer. The different culture of diverse people has brought together in the ‘global village’ through the new technology of social media (sawyer 2011). Social media is a way to promote and preserve the traditional Indian art and craft through social blogs, websites, magazines, photographs, video, pictures etc.

But after the revolution of social media the art of phulkari has displayed worldwide and well known all over the world. After the role of internet, in revival of phulkari art, it has been promoted through Indian cinemas, serials and designers work. The online information also promotes and revives the phulkari embroidery which increases the social status of marginalized women of Punjab who earn money from the embroidery of phulkari. This paper attempts to capture the role of social media in the context of revival and emergence of phulkari embroidery.

Social Network Sites: A Definition

In 18th to 19th century people exchange communication through sending and receiving message with telephone, telegram over long distances. In 20th to 21st century with growing of internet sharing message from one person to another over long distances is become very easy. Social networking sits allowed to people to create personal web pages and connect with others and share comments and contents through communication. Today it is very easy to know about anything related to the world with the social networking sites. Every person have right to share their views through social media.

Revival and emergence of Phulkari embroidery through social media:

Phulkari has also been commercialized through social media. In recent times, Phulkari has promoted through social media sites because it is getting recognition through social sites. Phulkari (literally means flower work) is a rural traditional art of embroidery perpetuate by women of Punjab from 15th century to till date. Today many women are involved in making this traditional art for earning money. Social media play an important role in revival and emergence of phulkari embroidery. Presently phulkari embroidery is not needed any introduction, it is known all over the world because of the emergence of social media. Media is a medium to communicate traditional craft and cultural belongings in respect of dress materials. In this way, phulkari embroidery has also been popularized through media. Its uses can be frequently shown in movies, serials, and other appearance in cinema. Through the appearance of Phulkari embroidery in movies and serials, people know about the culture of Punjab and want to adopt in their own life. Numerous costume designers have been creating the fashion of Phulkari designs with fusion of new trends, which inspired the generation. Media has played an important role to popularize it in social media. In current time, movies and serials have a major importance in the life of people, particularly in urban areas. They not only fond of movies but they also take their personal interest in cast also. In this matter of fact, girls and women are usually attracted by the outfits of actresses. On the contrary, they also are being attached with a particular character due to performance and appearance. In both of the condition, they get personally connected with the characters and then want to adopt these outfits in their wardrobe style for getting more involve in their personal interest. This interest is not only remained in their life only but it has been spread among their friends and in other knowing ones. This kind of sharing can be easily done through social media because it is a very accessible source to spread Phulkari throughout the world. In this way, people share their views and knowledge through numerous pages. One of the examples of this spreading can be seen through Facebook because in recent days Facebook is a very popular site, where almost everybody shares their personal interest and other material related with their life. People share the images of Phulkari embroidery on the social networking sites of Facebook which one they like and then the image has been considered through their friends and followers. They not only like the image but they also give their likes and dislikes and other comments regarding that particular image. If they like the image, sometimes it is also shared on their wall and then it gets recognition and followers. Facebook has played an important role in the revival of phulkari. Through Facebook the people, who belonged to this art create pages like shopkeeper, museum holders boutique owners and many more create page in which they upload images of phulkari products. Others people like and follow these pages and they get updates about the updated images, news, comments, and dialogues. Through these processes phulkari has been known all over the world because of the chain system of these social sites. People can buy products related to the phulkari embroidery from the uploaded images by shopkeepers through these social sites of Facebook or through online shopping sites. People also leave comments and message on the images of museum. Blogs and microblogs are also social networking sites like Facebook. In these sites, people also share their new images, dialogues and experiences and other in this process follower also leave comments and dialogues. Those web sites, in which government organization, NGOs and other companies create a home page, have been accessed by numerous people. Many NGO and government agencies that worked on the revival and emergence of Phulkari, have developed their web sites through social media. In which they shared history, technique, material and the data related with the artisans of phulkari. They share images of currents trends and products of phulkari embroidery which is made by the women who is a part of these NGOs which empowered these women. These web sites give the current knowledge of the events which are ongoing and outgoing by the NGOs and government agencies. These sites provide knowledge of current technique, colours, material and personal views of artisans. These sites also provide knowledge about the media coverage, awards, and achievements. People can buy the products which are made by women of Punjab related to the Phulkari through social sites. NGOs and government agencies upload the images of the products of phulkari embroidery made by women with price, description and material information. In this way, online shopping is also an important part in the life of human beings because it is not only a way to save their times but it provides them better quality in reasonable price. Here, the art of Phulkari has been emerged as among the most liked embroidery in contemporary times. In this context, people get advantages of having Phulkari without purchasing it from the state from where it is originated but they can get it as staying at their homes through online delivery process. Moreover, there are many videos on you tube, which teach the way of its making. Numerous fashion designers are getting inspired these productions and inculcating in their dresses, which are worn by Bollywood actors and actresses. Thus, Phulkari has got a remarkable exposure through the convenience of social media and websites.


To conclude, it can be considered that the traditional form of Phulkari has been more commercialized and promoted through the advancement of social media. Before the arrival or social media, Phulkari was not much known to the people and particularly in international market. Therefore, the information sharing is a vast resource to give an overview of all cultural antiquities and to enhance cultural arts. In this context, this embroidery has not only remained popular but it has also made a unique place in the heart of art lovers. The sites of NGOs and governmental organizations proved valuable information to its users and artisans through which, they can do sufficient and needed changes for its commercialization. Women are also becoming empowered through these social networking sites because in the process of promotion there is no need to go out from their residential places. They can just simply put their productions on internet and then corporate with marketing strategies through online services. In this way, commercialization and revival of Phulkari has become more accessible with the help of social media.

 Ms.Rajinder Kaur is Research Scholar of Fine Art, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology.

Dr. Ila Gupta- Professor & HOD, Department of Architecture and Planning, Indian Institute of  Technology Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India.