Pabiben was born in Kukadsar, a small town in Kutch. She could not attend school, as her mother a young widow, needed help with raising her sisters. The eldest, Pabiben helped care for her sisters.
Pabiben learned the famed embroidery of her community, but before she could complete making her own dowry, the elder council of the community banned its use completely because they believed women spent too much time on the embroidery, leading to late marriages.
A Determined Achiever
While wedding embroidery was banned, professional embroidery was still allowed. Pabiben took advantage of this opportunity and joined the women’s group in 1998 and soon became known as a master artisan.
Meanwhile, the Dhebaria women who worked with Pabiben, searched for a way to solve their design problem: how could they continue with their craft without breaking the community rules…
Adhering to the new rules, they invented an art form called ‘Hari Jari’, an amalgamation of hand and machine application of readymade elements like ribbons and trims. Pabiben mastered this art with enthusiasm, and made a sample of a shopping bag. It became an instant hit, and was christened the “Pabi Bag!”
Soon after, the Pabi Bag was introduced to the contemporary market. Pabiben’s work has been shown in Hollywood and Bollywood films, and enjoys popularity all over the world today! The authenticity of her bags blends completely with modern aesthetics. Moreover, her craft is not just a result of hard-work and creativity but it also echoes the voice of women empowerment.
Empowerment for her is…
“The ability to think and choose, use maximum creativity in our work, match the potential in ourselves, to fulfill our dreams and get self-respect and recognition”.