It was from old movies on Gandhi or movies and stories on Independence movement in India that we have come across kahadi. Khadi the hand spun and hand woven fabric worn and promoted my Mahatma Gandhi as a revolt not to use foreign goods but use goods –made in INDIA. The question that arise, was. If kahdi was so important for India,
- Why don’t we see majority of India’s wearing kahadi?
- Khadi is only in fashion when few Designers take initiative under some Govt project to promote the fabric?
- When by travelling in railways, we can see the logo of khadi on the sheets given in AC coaches, but the finishes or weave are machine made?
- Why is that 99% Indian Political leader, ministers, MP’s wear Khadi? when any textile knowing person will tell they are mill spinning yarn and hand woven. Where khadi is complete hand spun and hand woven fabric.
Khadi was more than a fabric in the freedom movement o India.. Wearing kahdi and having made people believe that they were men of self sacrifice, such workers wearers disgrace kahadi.
"In the pre-Gandhian era many men and women found a relatively uncontroversial solution to the problem of what to wear by wearing foreign cloth in Indian styles. But with new Gandhian emphasis on kahdi, this solution was now considered unpractical and immoral. Where as in the past the style of the garment had been the most important criterion for judging patriotism, this was not the cloth itself, Its production and origin. The result was that some political party man officially obliged to wear kahdi, concealed their lack of kahdi-faith by wearing mill-made imitations that were mass produced in both India and Japan.. By choosing simple white cloth they could continue to enjoy the comfort of the cheaper softer mill cloth while simultaneously reaping the benefits of a sanctimonious kahdi clad image. Some such imitations were pure fake while others were what the Gandhi called half kahdi, i.e. fabrics that were hand woven but with machine spun yarn’. (Clothing Matters by Emma Tarlo)
To Gandhi it was vital for khadi to remain at the centre of all political activity. Advertising on how to select a candidate for the Legislature for the Legislative Council.
I shall tell you what I should do. I will first of all scan the candidates from top to bottom and if i find that among all the candidates there is not one man dressed from top to bottom in khaddar................I will go to him in all humility and ask him if he is still dressed in this style for the occasion or if he habitually at home and out of home wears hand spun and hand-woven kahaddar. . If he returns an answer in the negative, I should again retain my vote in my pocket. If positive i would ask ,” It is extremely good that you wear khaddar , but do you also spin for the sake of the masses at least for half and hour.(CWMG vol 26:375)
“ After fighting freedom under a banner of kahadi, politicians could not just turn about and forget it once the British had left India, even though the majority of the populance ( excluding perhaps artists and intellectuals) did exactly that. Furthermore the moral stigma which Gandhi had so cleverly woven into imported fabric could not be unravelled any more than the moral integrity which was so neatly woven fabric.
Nehru’s solution was to carve himself a highly tailored but noticeable non western image, while retaining kahdi as a fabric of his dress. He therefore opted for the stitched tight pyjama which he wore with either the long sherwani and the famous Nehru jacket.. It was more or less a return to the pre –Gandhian version of respectable dress. With the difference that Nehru’s version was made form kahdi. He sometimes wore foreign dress on foreign visits but in India his clothes remained Indian.” (Clothing Matters—Emma Tarlo).
This trend has continued. Different political parties have been elected different times in the election. They differ in opinions, policies, beliefs. However one thing that remains common the kahdi or kaddar garments worn by our political leaders, as if it’s an uniform or eligible criteria for a political leader to wear.
It is the Time to Think. Khadi or Khaddar had not been used to its fullest. Time to really respect to this fabric. It is a time to add value, incorporate new designs print, construction and promote kahdi in a large scale and make it more appealing to the mass market.