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The history of ‘Khadi’ almost begins from the day Mahatma Gandhi came to know about the ‘Charakha’ for the first time in 1908 when he was in London as the head of a delegation from South Africa. He decided then and there the course he was to take and the goal he was to pursue in his future life --devoting himself to the service of India and freeing it from the shackles of British rule.
On his return to India from South Africa, Gandhiji chose to espouse two causes – to secure freedom for India from the of British rule, and redeem its people from the clutches of poverty. in this great battle of his, ‘Charakha’ and ‘Khadi’ were to be the wheels of his chariot and ‘truth’ and ‘non-violence’ his weapons. Khadi also symbolised India’s return to its traditional occupation and revival of its once glorious past.
Gandhiji’s perception of Khadi and its role in India’s freedom movement was broad-based. It was to be the instrument for realisation of his dream of ‘wiping every tear from every eye’, which, in effect, meant providing means of livelihood to every family, and help it lead a respectable life. Though agriculture was, and even now is, mainstay of Indian economy, it could not employ all the people in the country, given the fact that 27 per cent of the population lived in urban areas and 73 per cent in villages.
Having played its due role during independence movement, Khadi gradually receded to background, perhaps, owing to the failure of the people and the governments that followed to realise its significant role in the country’s economy. Now, Khadi forms only one per cent of the total cloth produced in India.
Even in whatever condition Khadi is, it has shown that it is a mass employer with least investment. The one per cent of Khadi has employed 15 lakh people in the country.
Now, it is for the people of this country, to decide whether or not his great Institution called Khadi should be revived and made an important part of the country’s ethos and economy. If all of us decide to wear Khadi alone, there is a prospect of atleast 15 crore people getting employment and our country returning to that glorious period of Indian history when our people lived happily and comfortably, with self-respect and without being bothered by thieves, robbers and dacoits.

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