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MK Gandhi Thought The Birth of Khadi | 1908


The Birth of Khadi - Mahatma Gandhi Thought

THE BIRTH OF KHADI I do not remember to have seen a handloom or a spinning wheel when in 1908 I described it in Hind Swaraj as the panacea for the


The Birth of khadi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi



Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869. officially recognised as the father of nation, he was popularly known as bapu. He chose truth and nonviolence as the chief of weapons against the British rule in India. Gandhi's peaceful battle and bloodless revolution helped India gain independence. Called to the bar in 1891 coma he practiced at the Bombay high Court and in South Africa. he laid the foundation of the Indian national Congress in 1894, after which he identified himself with the cause of the Indian Independence movement. From 1915 still 1948, he completely dominated Indian politics. he died at the hands of fanatic, Nathuram Godse, in 1948 hardly a year after independence. He was the living embodiment of truth and non-violence. He was not only and ardent social worker, and aspiring teacher but also one of the greatest Indian writers of English.
In this extract from his autobiography, he says that the main object behind the birth of khadi was to enable Indians to be clothed in cloth manufactured by the hands.


I do not remember to have seen a handloom or spinning wheel when in 1908 I described it in Hindi swaraj as the panacea for the growing pauperism of India. In that book I took it as understood that anything that helped India to get rid of the grinding poverty of her masses would in the same process also establish swaraj. even in 1915 when I returned to India from South Africa, I have not actually seen a spinning wheel. when the satyagraha ashram was founded at sabarmati, introduced a few handlooms there.  But no sooner had we done this then we found ourself up against our difficulty. All of us belonged either to the libral profession or to business; not one of us was artisan. We need a weaving expert to teachers to weave before we had worked the looms. One was at last procured from palanpur, but he did not communicate to us the whole of his art. But maganlal Gandhi was not to be easily baffled. possessed of a natural talent for mechanics, he was fully able to master the art before long, and one after another several new Weavers were trained up in the ashram.

      The object that we set before ourselves was to be able to clothe ourself entirely in cloth manufactured by our own hands. We therefor forthwith discarded the use of mill-woven cloth, and all the member of the ashram resolved to wear hand woven cloth made from Indian non only. The adoption of this practice brought us a world of experience. It enabled us to know, from direct contact, the condition of life among the Weaver, the extent of the production, the handicaps in the way of their obtaining their yarn supply, the way in which they were being made victims of fraud, and, lastly, there ever growing indebtedness. We were not in a position immediately to manufacture all the cloth for our needs. the alternative therefore was to get our cloth supply from handloom Weavers. Ready-made cloth from Indian Mills was not easily obtainable either from the cloth-dealers or from the Weaver themselves. All the fine cloth woven by the Weavers from foreign yarn, since Indian Mills did not spin fine counts. Even today the out-turn of higher counts by Indian Mills is very limited, whilst highest counts they cannot spin at all. It was after the greatest effort that we were at last able to find some Weaver's who condescended to Weave swadeshi yarn for us, and only on condition that the ashram would take up all the clothes that they might produce.

The birth of khadi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

By thus adopting cloth woven from mill-yarn  as our wear, and propagating it among our friends, we made ourselves voluntary agent of the Indian spinning Mills. This in its turn brought us into contact with the Mills, and enabled us to know something about their management and their handicaps. We saw that the aim of the Mills was more and more to Weave the yarn spun by them; their cooperation with the handloom Weaver was not willing, but unavoidable and temporary. we became impatient to be able to spin our own yarn. it was clear that, until we could do this ourselves, dependence on the Mills would remain. we did not feel that we could render any service to the country by continuing as agent of Indian spinning mills. 

No end of difficulties again faced us.we could get neither spinning wheel nor a spinner to teach us how to spin. We were employing some wheels for filling pearns and bobbins for weaving in the ashram. But we had no idea that this could be used as spinning wheels. once kalidas javeri discovered a woman who, he said, would demonstrate to us how spinning was done. We sent to her a member of aashram who was known for his great versatility in learning you things. but even he returned without wresting the secret of the art.

           Show the time passed on, and my impatience grew with the time. I plied every chance visitor to the ashram who was likely to possess some information about hand spinning with the questions about the art. But the art being confined to women and having been old but exterminated if there was some stray spinners still surviving in some of obscure corner, only a member of the sex was likely likely to find out her whereabouts. 


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