Mahatma Gandhi’s Khadi back in reckoning

Rohan Agarwal

New Delhi: Once on the verge of being forgotten, Bapu's beloved fabric Khadi is back in the mainstream and has been ruling the fabric market like never before.

Pime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to general public in 2014 to opt for Khadi has helped it's products come into spotlight and the numbers support this.

According to two-year progress report by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), the sale and production of Khadi has seen multi-fold increase since 2014 when Modi himself came on the front foot to bat for the products dear to Mahatma Gandhi.

In the report, the Khadi's production increase in 2012-13 is shown as 6.27 percent more than 2011-12. In 2013-14, the production increased by 6.45 percent. In 2014-15, the production increased by 8.49 percent.

However, the real story began in the next year which saw more than two-fold increase in production of Khadi items with 21.09 percent production growth.

The growth continued to next year with production increasing by 31.77 percent in 2017. Gandhi often referred to khadi as 'the symbol of freedom'.

When Gandhi travelled across different parts of the country, he not only addressed the masses and motivated them to be part of the freedom struggle, he also motivated them to weave their own clothes at home.

This lead to creating employment opportunities especially for the women and youth of rural India.

Even the agricultural sector benefitted from his plans. Farmers would cultivate cotton which was bought by khadi manufacturers, giving a new form and shape to the industrial revolution.

Gandhi's model of promoting Khadi is what helped Modi bring it back into spotlight. The Prime Minister himself acted as a brand ambassador of the fabric. His Modi Jacket attracted several people to the fabric and it was also a reason that Khadi saw sales increase.

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