KHADI is a hand spun and handwoven cloth. This fabric which has a profound association with the history of independence, is impressive in its own right.
The first fabric of Khadi was woven with the commencement of the Boycott Movement in India, which dates back to the 1920s. During the ‘Swadeshi Movement’ that began by shunning foreign goods, it was widely publicized among the Indian population as an alternative to British textiles.
Raw materials at that time were entirely exported to England and then re-imported as costly finished cloth, depriving the local population of work and profits from it. Gandhi saw the fabric as the end of dependency on foreign materials that symbolized the foreign rule, thus giving the first lesson of real independence.
Hence, during this time hand spinning and hand weaving was elevated to an ideology for selfreliance and self-governance. Every village would plant and harvest its own raw materials for yarn, every woman and man would engage in spinning and every village was to weave whatever is needed for its own use. In many parts of the country at the beginning of the 20th century , farmers would not have enough work to earn their living throughout the year. About four months they could be idle due to the rainless dry season. Spinning thereby supplied the readiest occupation as it can easily be learnt. It requires practically no outlay or capital, even an improved spinning wheel can be easily and cheaply made. Gandhi also felt that in a county where manual labour was looked down upon, it was an occupation to bring high and low, rich and poor together, to show them the dignity of hand-labour.
It was for economic, cultural and social reasons and not merely political that Gandhi established the Khadi movement. Thus, Khadi is not mere a piece of cloth but a way of life.
Hand spun yarn gives the textile a unique slub texture. Khadi is made from cotton and is hence extremely breathable and absorbent making it a comfortable choice for regular wear. Khadi is also durable and has temperature regulation properties- this means that it can be worn for warmth in winter and cooling in summer ! In present day Khadi provides huge employment opportunities for spinners and weavers in rural India 70% of whom are women.