It’s the perfect tribute to Mahatma — 59 years after his death, his khadi legacy has not only continued to live on in India but also transcended national borders, growing from being just a fabric to a philosophy.
Veteran Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande attributes it to the fabric’s environment-friendly nature. However, Deshpande is a little miffed at how the indigenous material is gaining popularity among foreign nationals, while it has yet to get its due in its own backyard.
“Unfortunately, we Indians are not giving importance to khadi while foreigners know the charkha can save the environment,” said the Padma Vibhushan awardee. “An American friend calls khadi the ‘air-conditioned clothes of India’ due to its climatic adaptability,” Deshpande told the Hindustan Times.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) said its products had fetched Rs 50 crore abroad and expects the figure to touch Rs 250 crore over the next couple of years.
Ironically, the government’s efforts to encourage the use of khadi leave a lot to be desired. “The khadi institution is passing through a bad phase and artisans are dying of hunger with no work,” Deshpande said.
Raageshwari, Indi-pop singer and actress said she loves khadi. “I believe in making khadi popular as it represents Indian culture.” She is seen wearing khadi clothes in her new album Sagari Rayn.
Besides the US, the demand for khadi products, including charkhas is immense in Japan and Australia. The charkha also is being exported to Britain against whom Mahatma Gandhi used it as a weapon of non-violence.