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SWADESHI / KHADI > KHADI > GANDHIJI ON KHADI > Introduction
Gandhiji presented khadi as a symbol of nationalism, equality and self-reliance. It was his belief that reconstruction of the society and effective Satyagraha against the foreign rule can be possible only through khadi.
Khadi is the central core of the constructive activities as recommended by him. According to him there could be no swaraj without universal and voluntary acceptance of khadi. In his words, "I am a salesman of swaraj. I am a devotee of khadi. It is my duty to induce people, by every honest means, to wear khadi."1
Gandhiji started his movement for khadi in 1918. His emphasis at first was on khadi as providing relief to our poverty- stricken masses. But one finds a change in his emphasis from 1934, more especially from 1935, when he began on insisting on khadi for the villager's own use, rather than merely for sale to others. His imprisonment in 1942 and 1943 gave him time to ponder further over his khadi movement, and when he came out of jail he came with a determination to give a new turn to khadi work in order to make khadi serve the needs of villagers themselves first and foremost. He poured out his soul to his fellow-workers in 1944, and urged them to effect the change.2
The spinning wheel was at one time the symbol of India's poverty and backwardness. Gandhiji turned it into a symbol of self-reliance and non-violence. Khadi enabled him to carry his message of swadeshi and swaraj to the people and to establish connection with them.
1. Navajivan, 26-4-1925; 26:548
2. M.K. Gandhi, Khadi: Why and How, ed. Bharatan Kumarappa, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1955, Editorís note, p.v.