The roots of patriotism lies in history of our freedom struggle. Today freedom is our birth right so we tend to take it for granted, but if we ask our ancestors, they sacrificed so much to achieve it.
History unfolds couple of amusing realities about the khaddar or khadi fabric.
Indians did hand spinning on charkha and hand weaving on handlooms for thousands of years. Hinduism had a separate cult in the caste system for weavers. Saint Kabir belonged to that cult. Indus valley civilisation and Mohenjodaro reveal the presence of such textiles through stone sculptures, bone tools for weaving and terracotta spindles for spinning. Though Indian cotton crop was first mentioned in world literature by Herodotus, the greek historian in 400 BC.He wrote about India, as there were “trees that grew wild, producing a kind of wool that was better than the sheep’s wool in quality and beauty. People make their clothes using this tree wool.
The arrival of Portuguese in Calicut led to the advent of calico fabric and china fabric in Europe. Calico fabric looked like linen and was named after Calicut (presently known as Kozhikode). Chintz was the name given to wood block printed calicos.
Seeing threat to their own textile mills, the english and french not only banned import of calico and chintz but also swamped India with low-cost textiles made in their country mills. Some textile mills were opened in Bombay as well. All this led to the decline of Khadi, in terms of requirement and usage and eventually manufacturing.
Europen textiles deprived thousands of weavers, of their livelihood.
The downfall of khadi continued till it was saved by Mahatma Gandhi, in his struggle of Swadeshi. The father of our nation made Charkha the foundation of India’s economic renaissance. He himself made the hand spun fabric on charkha and encouraged the indians to spin their own yarn and wear khadi. He asked his countrymen to restore their faith and esteem in their heritage while contributing in the growth of villagers. He appealed the Indians to boycot the clothes manufactured in Britain. This underrated masterstroke made the freedom struggle reach each and every house instead of being the concern of the educated upper strata of the society. In this way, Gandhiji exposed the exploitative regulations of the British Raj and left a big question mark on the credibility of the British rule in India.