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Ajrakh by Jabbar Khatri

Ajrakh by Jabbar Khatri

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Ajrakh by Jabbar Khatri

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2018

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Jabbar Khatri was born into the traditional Khatri family in Dhamdka, a small village in Gujarat. While his grandfather was originally a block printer, his father left this traditional work due to an irregular income. The demand for traditional craft work fell as the Indian economy opened its doors to new markets a few decades ago. Because of this, many craftsmen, like Jabbar Khatri's father, left their traditional work to work in factories. Jabbar Khatri was also sent off to Mumbai to work in a retail store after he finished studying for his 10th grade exams. Growing up in the rural landscapes of Kutch, Jabbar Bhai did not enjoy working in an urban environment. The distance from his community, the isolated work environment in a bustling city, and the lack of an independent identity were breaking him each day, piece by piece. After much contemplation, Jabbar Bhai made the decision to move back home. He joined a Euro tile factory in his hometown for a few years before the unit closed down and left him unemployed. Jabbarbhai felt that it was best that he returned to his ancestral work of block printing, which would soon turn out to be a profitable business for him. Since he was not a skilled artisan, he trained under a few well-known block printers to master the craft and understand the market. Finally, in 2015, he started his own Ajrakh printing and dyeing unit. Today, Jabbar Bhai is an independent artisan with a small team of ten craftsmen. He works with both cotton and silk materials and makes garments, accessories, and home furnishings out of them.

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