HISTORY OF KHADI
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
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.