Khadi , reasons to wear our Indian fabric of Freedom and Self Reliance

Khadi is a term used for fabrics that are hand-spun and hand-woven, usually from cotton fiber. However, khadi is also made from silk and wool, known as khadi silk or woolen khadi respectively. Khadi is a versatile fabric that remains cool in summer and warm in winter. It is also eco-friendly, durable and comfortable to wear. Khadi has a rich history and significance in the Indian subcontinent, as it was closely associated with the freedom struggle and the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

Origin of Khadi

The origin of khadi can be traced back to the ancient times, when India was known for its textile industry and trade. India exported fine cotton fabrics to various parts of the world, such as Rome, China, Egypt and Persia. The spinning and weaving of cotton was a common household activity, especially among women. The charkha (spinning wheel) and the loom were the main tools used for making khadi.

However, with the advent of British colonial rule in India, the domestic textile industry suffered a severe decline. The British imposed heavy taxes and duties on Indian cotton and cloth, and imported cheap machine-made fabrics from Britain. This resulted in the loss of livelihood and dignity for millions of Indian spinners and weavers, who were reduced to poverty and starvation. The British also discouraged the use of khadi by Indians, as they considered it inferior and coarse.

Gandhi's Promotion of Khadi

Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement, recognized the importance of khadi as a symbol of self-reliance and resistance against colonial exploitation. He revived the art of spinning and weaving khadi by popularizing the use of the charkha among the masses. He made it his mission to promote khadi as a swadeshi (self-sufficient) product that could empower the rural poor and create a sense of national identity among Indians.

Gandhi also wore khadi as a mark of simplicity and solidarity with the common people. He urged his followers to boycott foreign cloth and adopt khadi as their daily wear. He said, "The message of the spinning wheel is much wider than its circumference. Its message is one of simplicity, service of mankind, living so as not to hurt others, creating an indissoluble bond between the rich and the poor, capital and labour, the prince and the peasant."

Gandhi also made khadi an integral part of his political campaigns, such as the Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922), the Salt March (1930) and the Quit India Movement (1942). He used khadi as a tool to mobilize people across caste, class, religion and gender lines. He also established various institutions and organizations to support the production and distribution of khadi, such as the All India Khadi Board (1924), the All India Spinners Association (1925) and the Khadi Village Industries Commission (1953).

Benefits of Wearing Khadi

Khadi has many benefits as a fabric that make it suitable for various occasions and seasons. Some of them are:

Khadi , reasons to wear the fabric of Freedom and Self Reliance

  • Khadi is natural and organic, as it does not use any chemicals or synthetic fibers in its making. It is gentle on the skin and does not cause any allergies or irritation.
  • Khadi is breathable and absorbent, as it allows air circulation and moisture evaporation. It keeps the body cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • Khadi is durable and strong, as it can withstand wear and tear for a long time. It does not fade or shrink easily.
  • Khadi is versatile and fashionable, as it can be dyed in different colors and patterns. It can also be stitched into various styles and designs.
  • Khadi is eco-friendly and sustainable, as it does not consume much water or energy in its production. It also biodegrades easily without harming the environment.

Khadi is not just a piece of cloth, but a piece of history and culture. It represents the values of freedom, self-reliance, simplicity and harmony that Gandhi embodied and advocated. It also reflects the diversity and richness of Indian textile traditions that have survived and evolved over centuries. By wearing khadi, we can honor our past, celebrate our present and contribute to our future.