Khadi is basically hand spun and hand woven cloth made from cotton. The main producers of khadi are India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Varieties of khadi include khadi silk and khadi wool. Cotton is converted to yarn on charka or chakri, a spinning wheel. The fabric is ecofriendly and helps your body to remain cool in summer and hot in winter. The fabric combines simplicity and style. It occupies a special place in the minds of Indians as it was one of the major items promoted by Mahatma Gandhi during the independence struggle as part of Swadeshi movement.
The textile history of India and the expertise in the field were major reasons for the prosperity of India in ancient era. Invaders like Alexander the great and travelers like Marco Polo were captivated by the skill and creativity of Indians in textile manufacturing and printing. Later on, the British started selling mill made high cost clothes of superior quality in India, thus destroying the textile business of India.
Later on Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation promoted khadi and helped it to regain its prominence. As part of the swadeshi movement, he suggested Indians to boycott foreign made cloth and to use hand spun khadi. He began to spin yarn himself and made the spinning wheel ‘chakri’ a symbol of independence movement. He encouraged khadi production, enabling Indians to regain their confidence of self-reliance. The khadi movement thus provided courage to Indians to believe that they can be free from foreign clothes and foreign clutches. Khadi is considered a fabric of freedom struggle. For that reason, till now many politicians wear only khadi.
Many designers have been working on khadi fabric. Their efforts have succeeded in providing the fabric a modern look and enhanced appeal. Some of their products, shawls, khurthas, scarves and trousers are now being sold in international markets.The fabric is now being promoted as a brand and as a designer wear. The flexible dress that once united entire India against foreign rule is gradually emerging as the pride of the country.