The KHADI Spirit - Freedom Fabric
Do you know where the word Khadi comes from?
It’s a short form of the word Khaddar - which literally means rough, course & rugged. What is the source of Khadi’s distinct roughness? Takli.
Takli is basically a hand spindle used to spin cotton threads (or yarn) off the wick (cotton fibers hand plucked from cotton balls). And it is Takli’s uneven spin that gives Khadi its unique texture. But there is more to it.
Before spinning, one first needs to mount the yarn on the handloom. The longer threads are mounted as warp (this decides the fabric length) and the shorter ones are hand-slided as weft, (this decides the fabric-width). Now, the manual strokes that keep weft in its place, are uneven - and that is also responsible for that special Khadi character - the breathable weave. The strokes are not the only manual thing done though.
Right from tilling the land, growing the plant, plucking the cotton balls, ginning the cotton fibers, spinning the yarn, weaving the fabric and then dyeing / printing on the fabric - everything is done by human hands - an art handed down from generation to generation. Which is a story in itself.
Most of us know how Khadi was made popular by Gandhiji (in the wake of the boycott of foreign goods - mainly British fabric). But after independence, import of textile machinery and founding of mills led to flooding of the market with cheaper and finer cotton fabrics. Constraints of hand were overcome by power operated machines, and Khadi went in reclining. Until now - thanks to the rising desire for sustainability.
When you buy handspun, handwoven, handled & hand-printed fabric like Khadi, you end up boosting the rural communities where the artisans come from. Most artisans don’t wish to give up on their art-skills acquired over generations, to become an urban laborer. Your preference for Khadi now gives them a reason to live a dignified life where they are, their roots are. Not just artisans - farmers, farmhands, farm-helpers, gining labours, hand spinners, weavers, dyers & printers - everyone gets to earn more and better sustain their families.
Great, so now you know one - where the word Khadi comes from, two - the way it’s hand-made and is sustainable and three - when you choose to wear Khadi, you allow artisans and an entire rural community to thrive where they are. See you in a cool, amazing Khadi outfit soon.