The way I look at khadi...


During the first century, Romans called the cloth imported from India as 'nebula' meaning breezy or mist-like, to describe hand-spun and handwoven khadi muslin. Nearly 2000 years later, Mahatma Gandhi, father of our modern day khadi promoted spinning and weaving khaddar as a symbol of India's freedom struggle.

* These two diverse varieties of khadi fabrics are different from each other not only historically but also in the tactile quality, One represents the luxury in fine muslin and the other celebrates the coarseness of everyday life. Hence instills the value of co-existence.

* Weaving requires many skillful hands. It is small scale and involves both men and women in producing the textile, which teaches self-reliance, sufficiency and symbolic resistance to mass produce.

* A meter of woven khadi fabric requires an inter-dependency between the farmer, the laborers, ginners, spinners, dyers, carpenters, weavers, and many more people. This dependency is not hierarchical but cohesive, not self-centered but a mutual interest in survival. It's a celebration of weaving lives together.

* Sari or a garment has a symbolic meaning. It's our social skin. It is not only an expression of who we are but an association with the maker. Clothes have the power to protect us and in-turn teaches us to protect our craftspeople.

* The diverse Variety of khadi fabric woven in our country depends on the weather, cotton-grown locally and the skill. As khadi is handmade, no two textile are the same. This, in turn, defines modern day luxury.

* Unlike mass-produced fabrics (mill), fabrics produced by mass (hand woven) offer many varieties of textile and culturally relevant products. This fabric diversity celebrates pluralism.

* Khadi weaving can support local short staple length cotton, which is not of much use to textile mills. This decentralized economic support system enables the farmer not only to own the indigenous cottonseed but also to grow cotton in rain-fed harsh landscape organically.

* The inexpressible fondness towards khadi comes from the harmonious work of many people who represent a cross-section of religion and economic background and bringing them together with one identity. The conscious consumption of this 'fabric of truth' makes our purchase purposeful.

* The process of khadi weaving is the symbol of the dignity of labor. Showing solidarity by building pride amongst the workforce, the unmasking of poverty, limiting migratory behavior, bringing economic stability in rural women can be an opportunity for all of us to come together and share the collective responsibilities.

* Less carbon footprint and barely any energy is required to weave khadi, hence it's the fabric of our future. Safeguarding this green-craft and promoting the idea of 'craft commons' in the society can teach us to be public-spirited.

* The very nature of work allows people behind the craft to be versatile, absorbent and enhance the beauty of the local culture. The most physically weak men/women can also spin yarn at their comfort. This sense of feeling at home results in an organic spirit of well being.

* In times of adversities like floods/drought or during the times of unemployment or under-employment, this home-based craft can sustain necessary life demands through economic stability.

* An appealing aesthetic of khadi textile comes from its simplicity. This simple fabric not only encourages the new and young workers to explore the craft but also supports various auxiliary crafts like printing, dyeing or hand-embroidery.

M.K.Gandhiji once said, "If we have khadi spirit in us, then we should surround ourselves in simplicity in every walk of life".

This simple thought of spinning can spin a revolution, even today.

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