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SWADESHI / KHADI > KHADI > GANDHIJI ON KHADI > Propagation of Khadi
Propagation of Khadi
"Using khadi is the foundation of swadeshi, since khadi is the only thing which can be made from thick yarn, and made easily. It has not so far had to compete with machine-made cloth. The consumption of khadi alone enables lakhs of poor people to earn an honest living, staying at home."
(Navajivan, 8-2-1920; 17:16.)
". . . boycott of foreign cloth by means of hand-spinning and hand weaving, i.e., khaddar, not only saves the peasant's money, but it enables us workers to render social service of a first class order. It brings us into direct touch with the villagers. It enables us to give them real political education and teach them to become self-sustained and self-reliant. Organization of khaddar is thus infinitely better than co-operative societies or any other form of village organization."
(Young India, 26-12-1924; 25:474.)
"It is but natural that at this time when a determined effort is made to spread the khadi movement in Maha Gujarat we should require a large number of volunteers. We need both part-time volunteers and full-time volunteers. It is essential that every volunteer should know all the processes connected with spinning. Any persons who wish to offer their services as such volunteers may send their names to me, so that as and when the need arises their services may be utilized."
(Navajivan, 1-2-1925; 26:62.)
"As regards charkha and khaddar, charkha is the life of Hindustan and I have compared it to the Sudarshan Chakra and Kamdhenu. The destruction of charkha meant the beginning of poverty in India, and to drive (away) poverty we must reinstate charkha in its proper place. Charkha should be given the first place in Indian homes. Let the wheel be plied in every home every day for half an hour in the name of God for the salvation of his or her starving brothers. The educated people should first adopt it so that others may follow."
(Speech at All-Bengal Hindu Sammelan, on 2-5-1925; 27:10-11.)
"You will go stark naked rather than that you should wear anything that is not hand-spun by your sister and hand-woven by your brother in your home and not in the factory. That is the message of the spinning-wheel. That is the simple little demand I make of every man and woman who loves India and who wants freedom of India."
(Speech at Bengal Provincial Conference, Faridpur, on 3-5-1925; 27:34.)
"I feel that the spinning wheel has all the virtues needed to make one's life truthful, pure and peaceful and fill it with the spirit of service. I, therefore, beg of you all to give half an hour's labour daily in the form of spinning."
(Speech to students, Dinajpur, on 21-5-1925; 27:93.)
"Where there is a will there is a way. The only thing needful is that there should be a determination not to desert khadi no matter what it costs. But, if your faith in khadi has slackened, you should tell me so. I have warned friends repeatedly that if in their experience they find khadi to be an impracticable proposition, they must not hesitate to say so first to me if they will and then to the public. I have no desire to bolster up a wrong cause no matter what grief it may give to me personally. As a matter of fact it will be no grief to me but unmixed joy to discover my error. No friend therefore need spare me when he finds that my faith in khadi is like building castles in the air. But, if your faith is as green as when you wrote your essay then you dare not desert khadi."
(Letter written to N.S. Varadachari from Sabarmati Ashram on 13-6-1926; 30:576.)
"It is my firm belief that, even for the sake of khadi, no khadi lover should give up his principles, resort to incorrect behaviour, or ever have recourse to evil ways even with the best of intentions. Nothing good can ever be accomplished through unclean means. The power that we look for in khadi will be completely destroyed if we resort to undesirable means in our work. The annihilation of the distinction between high and low is a glorious result of khadi."
(Navajivan, 31-10-1929; 42:78.)
"The two issues of khadi and political organization should be kept absolutely separate. There must be no confusion. The aim of khadi is humanitarian; but so far as India is concerned, its effect is bound to be immensely political.
"The Salvation Army wants to teach people about God. But they come with bread. For the poor, bread is their God. Similarly, we should bring food into the mouths of the people through khadi. If we succeed in breaking the idleness of the people through khadi, they will begin to listen to us. Whatever else the Government might do, it does leave some food for the villagers.
Unless we can bring food to them, why should the people listen to us? When we have taught them what they can do through their own efforts, then they will want to listen to us.
"That trust can best be generated through khadi. While working out the khadi programme our aim should be purely humanitarian, that is, economic. We should leave out all political consideratoins whatsoever. But it is bound to produce important political consequences which nobody can prevent and nobody need deplore . . .
. . But through khadi we teach people the art of civil obedience to an institution which they have built up for themselves. Only when they have learnt that art can they successfully disobey something which they want to destroy in the non-violent way. This is why I should advise all workers not to fritter their fighting strength in many-sided battles, but to concentrate on peaceful khadi work in order to educate the masses into a condition necessary for a successful practice of non-violent non-co-operation. With their own exploitation, boycott of foreign cloth through picketing may easily be violent; through the use of khadi it is most natural and absolutely non-violent."
(An interview with Nirmal Kumar Bose on 9/10-11-1934; 59:316-317.)
"But khadi is the sun of the village solar system. The planets are the various industries which can support khadi in return for the heat and the sustenance they derive from it. Without it, the other industries cannot grow. But during my last tour I discovered that, without the revival of the other industries, khadi could not make further progress. For villagers to be able to occupy their spare time profitably, the village life must be touched at all points. . .
". . . Naturally, they can have nothing to do with politics or political parties. The Congress, in my opinion, did well in making both the Associations autonomous and wholly non-political. All parties and all communities can combine to uplift the villages economically, morally and hygienically."
(Harijan, 16-11-1934; 59:357.)
"Khadi cannot be moved from its central place. Khadi will be the sun of the whole industrial solar system. All the other industries will receive warmth and sustenance from the khadi industry."
(Speech at Gandhi Seva Sangh on or before 30-11-1934; 59:411.)
"The charkha understood intelligently can spin not only economic salvation but can also revolutionize our minds and hearts and demonstrate to us that the non-violent approach to swaraj is the safest and the easiest. Though the progress may seem slow, it will prove quickest in the long run."
(Speech at exhibition ground, Faizpur, 27-12-1936; 64:195.)
"I have often said that if khadi is a sound economic proposition it is also a science and a romance. I believe there is a book called The Romance of Cotton wherein the origin of cotton has been traced and an attempt made to show how its discovery altered the course of civilization. Everything can be turned into a science or a romance if there is a scientific or a romantic spirit behind it. Some people scoff at khadi and betray signs of impatience or disgust when one talks of hand-spinning. But it ceases to be an object of disgust or ridicule immediately you attribute to it the power of removing India-wide idleness, unemployment and consequent pauperism. It need not be, as a matter of fact, a panacea for the three ills. To be absorbingly interesting, the mere honest attributing of power is enough."
(Harijan, 16-1-1937; 64:248-49.)
"The Working Committee has emphasized the necessity of the members of the Legislatures and other workers taking the constructive programme of 1920 to the three crore villagers between whom and their representatives a direct contact has been established. The representatives may if they choose neglect them, or give them some paltry or even substantial relief from financial burdens; but they cannot give them self-confidence, dignity and the power of continuously bettering their own position unless they will interest them in the fourfold constructive programme, i.e., universal production and use of khadi through universal hand- spinning, Hindu-Muslim or rather communal unity, promotion of total prohibition by propaganda among those who are addicted to the drink habit, and removal by Hindus of untouchability root and branch.
"It was announced in 1920 and 1921 from a thousand platforms that attainment of swaraj by the non-violent method was impossible without these four things. I hold that it is not less true today.
"It is one thing to improve the economic condition of the masses by State
regulation of taxation, and wholly another for them to feel that they have
bettered their condition by their own sole personal effort. Now this they can
(Harijan, 15-5-1937; 65:199.)
"I claim to be a satyagrahi. Such a one does not tell a lie. Whether one describes a single thing as two or a hundred thousand, both involve falsehood. How then did I, a satyagrahi, make such a statement? After so many years I have again started repeating the same thing. Khadi can bring swaraj only if we are convinced of the principle underlying it. Swaraj cannot be won just by donning khadi without any understanding."
(Harijan Sevak, 26-2-1938; 66:372.)
"As long as power has not come into the hands of the people or as long as the State has not adopted it, khadi will have to depend on voluntary contributions. Khadi cannot be propagated in any other way."
(Letter to Vithaldas Jerajani, 6-9-1940; 72:446.)
"My idea is that in a well-organized village one person should suffice. For example, one worker may devote two hours to taking in yarn, distributing slivers and spinning tools, and sales of khadi; village industry work might take even less, and the remainder of the time he could give to village uplift and general education. This has not till now been possible because the khadi workers' time has been devoted to teaching people how to spin, etc. But now the time has come when khadi and village products, locally produced, must also be locally absorbed. In that case one person will be able to do all the work. Today it suffices to say that all this work is complementary - and must become one as far as possible."
(Harijan, 31-5-1942; 76:38.)
"We should increase our love for khadi and serve the villages. You should make all your dependents khadi wearers.
"I have compared khadi to the sun and the other industries to the planets in the solar system. Agriculture is a planet in this solar system but it cannot be the sun, for agriculture is not free. Those who till the land do not own it. The Government controls it through petty officials. The people have lost self-confidence. Harmful customs have led to fragmentation of land."
(Speech at A.I.S.A. meeting, Sevagram, 25-3-1945; 79:304.)