How do textiles become the medium for personal and communal histories? 

Khes: The intact fabric of a torn nation

Graduation Project
B.Des 2016
Textile Design

student portfolio︎︎︎

This research-based project concerned the lost Majnu Khes (a cotton bedspread) weaving tradition of undivided Punjab and how it was affected by the Partition. Through this project, I inquired about the possibilities of reviving the traditions of the long lost craft, and whether or not empathy can be induced through its memories. I also wanted to understand if the revival of the craft would make a difference to the economic conditions of the weavers.

I was fascinated by the fact that a textile craft could become a medium to narrate the chronicle of a divided nation. Textiles play an important role in material memory. They are not mere pieces of fabric, they contain stories and experiences long forgotten. I learned that textile design is not just limited to creating tactile surfaces, it can be used as an effective means of story-telling.

After I realised that the revival of the craft might not be feasible for the craft community, I looked at the project as an archival one. Most people were unaware of the craft; they did not know that the Majnu Khes exists or once existed. To inform people about the craft, its visual language, the process of making, was more relevant than reviving it. My project became research-heavy because all I did was read. I should have focussed on the technical aspects of Khes-making as I became too involved in the Partition narratives. Even though I was able to spend time with Khes weavers, I would have needed to spend more time on the field for my project to have taken a different direction. Apart from an exhibition, which was the project’s original intent, it can become a book. This is information that needs to be published, knowing that there is hardly any material about the Majnu Khes.

This project helped me realise what I like most about Textile Design. It is not developing surfaces or prints, it is about what the fabric carries: its story and history. Analysing textile pieces is what I did through this project, and is something I wish to work on in my coming years.


  • Partition Literature
  • My grandfather
  • Stories of Partition survivors