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The Mill Industry
Our mills cannot today spin enough for our wants, and if they did, they would not keep down prices unless they were compelled. They are frankly money-makers and will not, therefore, regulate prices according to the needs of the nation. Hand-spinning is therefore, designed to put millions of rupees in the hands of poor villagers. Every agricultural country requires a supplementary industry to enable the peasants to utilize spare hours. Such industry for India has always been spinning. Is it a visionary ideal – an attempt to revive an ancient occupation whose destruction has brought on slavery, pauperism and disappearance of the inimitable artistic talent which was once all expressed in the wonderful fabric of India and which was the envy of the world?
Young India, 16-2-‘21
The great mill industry may be claimed to be an Indian industry. But in spite of its ability to computer with Japan and Lancashire, it is an industry that exploits the masses and deepens their poverty in exact proportion to its success over Khadi. In the modern craze for industrialization, my presentation has been questioned, if not brushed aside. It has been contended that the growing poverty of the masses, due to the progress of industrialization, is inevitable, and should, therefore, be suffered. The A.I.S.A. has successfully demonstrated the possibility of the villages manufacturing the whole of the cloth requirements of India, simply by employing the leisure hours of the nation in spinning and the anterior processes. The difficulty lies in weaning the nation from the use of mill cloth.
Mill-owners are not philanthropists to go on providing yarn to the handloom weaver when he enters into effective competition with them.
As soon as the mill-owners can do so profitably, they will certainly stop selling mill yarn and will weave it themselves. They are not philanthropists. They have set mills to make money. They will stop selling their yarn to handloom weavers, if they find weaving it more profitable.
The use of mill-yarn is the principal stranglehold on the handloom industry. In hand-spun yarn lies its only salvation. If the spinning wheel goes, the handloom is bound to follow suit.
I am personally opposed to great trusts and concentration of industries by means of elaborate machinery. If India takes to khaddar and all it means, I do not lose the hope of India taking only as much of the modern machinery as may be considered necessary for the amenities of life and labour-saving devices.
Young India, 24-7-‘24
Organization of machinery for the purpose of concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a few and for the exploitation of many I hold to be altogether wrong. Much of the organization of machinery of the present age is of that type. The movement of the spinning wheel is an organized attempt to displace machinery from that state of exclusiveness and exploitation and to place it in its proper state. Under my scheme, therefore, men in charge of machinery will think not of themselves or even of the nation to which they belong but of the whole human race. Thus Lancashire men will cease to use their machinery for exploiting India and other countries but on the contrary they will devise means of enabling India to convert in her own villages her cotton into cloth. Nor will Americans under my scheme seek to enrich themselves by exploiting the other races of the earth through their inventive skill.
Young India, 17-9-‘25