Virsā Handicrafts Advisor
Dr. Gurupdesh Kaur is Virsā's Independent Advisor and Punjab Handicrafts Expert Consultant. With over a decade and a half of tireless work around organizing the Phulkari Artisans in the Punjab-Nabha region, she has earned a very special rapport, trust and loving relationship with the Artisans, who often get exploited by profiteering intermediaries. Dr. Kaur has been the champion of their cause and has helped them organize themselves better as micro-entrepreneurs and earn a living wage that is fair value. She is an asset to Virsā and vital to our young, growing Artisanal Community in the Patiala-Nabha region. Fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi and various local dialects, Dr. Kaur navigates the Feudal-Patriarchal milieu of rural Punjab with ease and truly understands the pulse of the rural Phulkari Artisans of Punjab. She is motivated by a personal passion for the Phulkari Craft, a proud owner of several heirloom pieces of Phulkari and has a personal & professional vision to see Phulkari return to its former glory.
Dr. Kaur joined the "Krishi Vigyan Kendra"(KVK) as an Assistant Professor in 2003. KVKs are part of a nationally-funded rural development network run by the Extension Education department of Punjab Agricultural University. She is based in Patiala, which is where the remnants of Post-Partition Phulkari continue to linger. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Home Science (1996), Master's degree in Child Development (1998) and holds a Ph.D in Human development (2001) from the College of Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University.
She started her career as Research Fellow at Punjab Agricultural University. She has had a prolific multi-dimensional career as a Researcher, Extension Education specialist and Resource Generator spanning almost 15 years. Her primary contributions and work is in projects the create "Socio-Economic Empowerment of Rural Women", "Psycho-Social Development of Children", "Dietary Management of Chronic lifestyle diseases and Rural vocational & quality of life alleviation technologies for Women in Agriculture.
She has passionately worked toward saving and reviving traditional Phulkari in Punjab villages and also tirelessly endeavored towards value-enhancement of Phulkari, helping rural Artisans organize themselves and helped popularise the craft amongst the younger generation of rural Punjabi women.
She was awarded the "Best KVK Award" for Technology Intervention and several High-Impact Research Paper awards at national and international conferences. Her Research Presentation was adjudged the best by the 8th National Extension Education Congress held at National Academy of Agricultural Research and Management, Hyderabad. She is the proud recipient of Dr. G.S.Kush Award for Transfer of Technologies to Rural Punjabi Women (Phulkari and other Handicrafts).
Dr. Gurupdesh Kaur has published over 100 Extension Education articles, 2 Book Chapters, about 10 Research Papers, One Manual and has authored Five Books. She has completed a Research Project on Empowerment of Farm Women for improved quality of life sponsored by Centre of Research for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneshwar.
In addition to this she is a common face and voice over the local Punjabi Media channels having delivered 35 Radio talks and 12 TV talks. She has delivered lectures, given demonstrations and arranged exhibitions in institutional and non institutional training courses, during celebration of important days and Kisan Melas (Rural Expos and Fairs).
If you would like to seek Dr. Gurupdesh Kaur's expert perspective on Phulkari and other Handicrafts of Punjab, please leave your comments and questions below.