About Khadi

Headline : BASICS: About Khadi

Details :


  • Khadi (also known as khaddar) is a hand spun fabric.  
  • It is a natural fiber cloth spun by hand in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan
  • Khadi is usually manufactured from cotton and is also made from silk and woolen yarn (called khadi silk and khadi wool respectively). 

Ancient Link

  • Hand-spinning and hand-weaving have been known to Indians for thousands of years. 
  • Archaeological evidence, such as terracotta spindles (for spinning), bone tools (for weaving) and figurines wearing woven fabrics indicates that Indus Valley Civilization had a well-developed and flourishing tradition of textiles.
  • When Alexander the Great invaded India, his soldiers wore cotton clothes that were comfortable in the heat than their traditional woolens
  •  The paintings in the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra depict the process of separating cotton fibers from seeds (called ginning) and women spinning cotton yarn.

Khadi and Freedom movement

  • Khadi owes its revival to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi who saw it as a tool to become self-reliant and independent.
  • Britishers bought raw materials at cheaper rate from India and sold their costly finished products in India.
  • This unfavourable balance of trade was first brought to the mainstream by Dada Bhai Nairoji.
  •  Dada Bhai Naroji put forward the theory of “drain of wealth” in his book “ Poverty and Un-british rule in India”.
  • Later, the use of swadeshi products was promoted by extremists and it became an important agenda during Bengal partition movement in 1905.
  • To put an end to the drain of wealth, the Swadeshi products were encouraged and produced.
  • Khadi was then introduced in 1920 by INC at Nagpur session as a political weapon for giving concrete expression to the Swadeshi Spirit to boycott the foreign goods.
  • During India’s freedom struggle, Gandhi encouraged handloom weaving, spinned with Charkha and promoted khadi and also used it as a medium to spread the wave of nationalism at grass root level.
  • The movement rendered an opportunity to Indians to be self-reliant on cotton and to be free from clothes produced by foreign manufacturers.
  • The first Khadi Production Centre was established at Katiawad, Gujarat.

Chronology of events that contributed to the development of Khadi in India

  • In the early20s and 30s, various Boards and Associaions were set up for Khadi.
  • In 1946, Govt. of Madras sought the advice of Gandhiji and set up a Department for Khadi.
  • In 1948, Govt. of India recognized the role of Rural Cottage Industries in the Industrial Policy Resolution and soon included it in the DPSP of the Constitution in Article 43.
  • These ideas were elaborated in the First five-year Plan and the policy framework for setting up of a body for Khadi.
  • In 1953, All India Khadi and Village Industries Board (AIKVIB) were set up which later became a statutory body- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)

  • It was set up in 1957.
  • Khadi is being promoted in India by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India.
  • Since then the commission has been:
  1. Planning and executing the development.
  2. Working towards promoting research in production techniques.
  3. Supplying raw material and tools to producers.
  4. Quality control and marketing of khadi products. 

India reviving Khadi: The continuing journey

  • In 2001, a study by Planning Commission found that the problems exist in the production and sales strategies. Raw material was expensive and employment generation was not encouraging.
  • Khadi sales grew at about 6% in the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. 
  • The reason for the government to revive sales is that the industry employed around 1.12 million Indians in the year 2015.
  • Indian Government has declared 7th August as the National Handloom Day.

Global fame

  • There are Khadi Bhawans and FabIndia in India 
  • In New York, Japanese store Anzu is known for its wool-khadi polka dot shawls.
  • Bess Nielsen in Paris is best-known khadi store.

Section : History & Culture