After Laila’s insightful talk, what I now present is an entirely personal overview of my thoughts on khadi. I am no expert , many amongst you more knowledgeable than me might wonder at my presence here. And while I thank AIACA for having invited me, I confess I myself am mystified. Please do bear with me if some of the observations sound repetitive. Maybe it will serve to reinforce the points that all of us in the field feel very strongly about.
Khadi - seventy two years on from our independence - and most strongly associated with it - is at the moment a confusing term at best and a much exploited and abused one at worst.
MG had used khadi to wage the war for independence in a strategic stroke at once brilliant and effective . Sadly, its usefulness as a political tool and one which proclaimed a strong Indian identity along with the deeper underlying message of austerity and empathy for the poor seems to have quietly faded away . In the overall consumeristic landscape that we witness today, such a message of simplicity does indeed seem out of place.
This was not so when we were young , there was a paucity of resources which encouraged a simpler way of life and khadi fitted in beautifully in this milieu . My own experience of khadi as a teenager, in the 70s, was limited to a coarse white or brightly coloured cloth available at reasonable prices at the Khadi Bhandar. It was comfortable to wear and we would wear it as kurtas teamed with jholas. It wasn’t difficult to identify khadi as something that belonged to us even if many of us weren’t particularly aware of the a...
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