Khadi connotes the beginning of
economic freedom and equality of all in the country… It must be
taken with all its implications. It means wholesale Swadeshi
mentality, a determination to find all the necessaries of life in
India and that too through the labour and intellect of the
villagers… The latter (villages) will be largely self-contained and
will voluntarily serve the cities of India and even the outside
world in so far as it benefits both the parties.
This needs a revolutionary change in
the mentality and taste of many. Easy though the non-violent way is
in many respects, it is very difficult in many others. It vitally
touches the life of every of every single Indian, makes him feel
aglow with the possession of a power that has lain hidden within
himself, and makes him proud, of his identify with every drop of the
ocean of Indian humanity.
Khadi to me is the symbol of unity of
Indian humanity, of its economic freedom and equality and therefore,
ultimately, in the poetic expression of Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘the
livery of India’s freedom’.
Moreover, Khadi mentality means
decentralization of the production and distribution of the
necessaries of life. Therefore, the formula so far evolved is every
village to produce all its necessaries and a certain percentage in
addition for the requirements of the cities.
Constructive Programme, (1961), pp. 12-13
The message of the spinning wheel is
much wider than its circumference. Its message is one of simplicity,
service of mankind, living so as not to hurt others, creating an
indissoluble bond between the rich and the poor, capital and labour,
the prince and the peasant.
Young India, 17-9-25, p. 321
I can only think of spinning as the
fittest and most acceptable sacrificial body labour. I cannot
imagine anything nobler or more national than that, for say one hour
in the day, we should all do the labour that the poor must do, and
thus identify ourselves with them and through them with all mankind.
I cannot imagine better worship of God than that in His name. I
should labour for the poor even as they do. The spinning wheel
spells a more equitable distribution of the riches of the earth.
Young India, 20-10-21, p. 329
I feel convinced that the revival of
hand-spinning and hand-weaving will make the largest contribution to
the economic and the moral regeneration of India. The millions must
have a simple industry to supplement agriculture. Spinning was the
cottage industry years ago, and if the millions are to be saved from
starvation, they must be enabled to reintroduce spinning in their
homes and every village must repossess its own weaver.
Young India, 21-7-20, p. 4
If the reader would visualize the
picture of the Indian skeleton, he must think of the eighty percent
of the population which is working its own fields, and which has
practically no occupation for at least four months in the year, and
which therefore lives on the borderland of starvation. This is the
normal condition. The ever recurring famines make a large addition
to this enforced idleness. What is the work that these men and women
can easily do in their own cottages so as to supplement their very
slender resources? Does any one still doubt that it is only
hand-spinning and nothing else?
Yong India, 3-11-21, pp. 350-51
Cottage manufacture of yarn and cloth
cannot be expensive even as domestic cookery is not expensive and
cannot be replaced by hotel cookery. Over twenty-five crores of the
population will be doing their own hand-spinning and having yarn
thus manufactured woven in neighbouring localities. This population
is rooted to the soil, and has at least four months in the year to
If they spin during those hours and
have the yarn woven and wear it, no mill-made cloth can compete with
their Khadi. The cloth thus manufactured will be the cheapest
possible for them.
Young India, 8-12-21, p. 405
What is claimed for spinning is that:
1. It applies the readiest occupation
to those who have leisure and are in want of a few coppers.
2. It is known to the thousands.
3. It is easily learnt.
4. It requires practically no outlay
5. The wheel can be easily and cheaply
made. Most of us do not yet know that spinning can be done even with
a piece of title and splinter.
6. The people have no repugnance to
7. It affords immediate relief in
times of famine and security.
8. It alone can stop the drain of
wealth which goes outside India in the purchase of foreign cloth.
9. It automatically distributes the
millions thus saves among the deserving poor.
10. Even the smallest success means so
much immediate gain to the people.
11. It is the most potent instrument
of securing co-operation among the people.
Young India, 21-8-24, p. 277
The disease of the masses is not want
of money so much as it is want of work. Labour is money. He who
provides dignified labour for the millions in their cottages,
provides food and clothing, or which is the same thing, money. The
Charakha provides such labour. Till a better substitute is found, it
must, therefore, hold and field.
Young India, 18-6-25, p. 211
Idleness is the great cause, the root
of all evil, and if that root can be destroyed, most of the evils
can be remedied without further effort. A nation that is starving
has little hope or initiative left in it. It becomes indifferent to
filth and disease. It says of all reforms, ‘to what good? That
winter of despair can only be turned into the ‘suns-shine’ of hope,
for the millions only through in life-giving wheel, the Charkha.
Young India, 27-8-25, p. 299
The spinning wheel is an attempt to
produce something out of nothing. If we have save sixty crores of
rupees to the nation through the spinning wheel, as we certainly
can, we add that vast amount to the national income. In the process
we automatically organize our villages. And as almost the whole of
the amount must be distributed amongst the poorest of the land, it
becomes a scheme of just and nearly equal distribution of so much
wealth. Add to this the immense moral value of such distribution,
and the case for the Charkha becomes irresistible.
Young India, 17-2-27, p. 52
Indeed, in some places, there are to
be found weavers who are classed as untouchables on account of their
occupation. They are mostly weavers of coarsest Khadi without any
pattern. This class was fast dying out when Khadi came to the rescue
and there was created a demand for their coarse manufacture. It was
then discovered that there were numerous Harijan families that even
subsisted on spinning. Thus Khadi is doubly the poor man’s staff of
life. It helps the poorest, including the Harijans, who are the most
helpless among the poorest. They are so because many occupations
which are available to the others are not available to the Harijans.
Harijan, 27-4-34, p. 85
Spinning would spell the organization
of crores into a joint co-operative effort, the conservation and
utilization of the energy of the millions, and the dedication of
crores of lives to the service of the motherland. The carrying out
of such a gigantic task would, further, give us a realization of our
own strength. It would mean our acquiring a thorough mastery of the
detail and innumerable knotty problems which it presents, e.g,
learning to keep account of every pie, learning to live in the
villages in sanitary and healthy conditions, removing the
difficulties that block the way and so on. For, unless we learn all
this, we would not be able to accomplish this task. The spinning
wheel, then, provides us with a means for generating this capacity in us.
Young India, 27-5-26, p. 190
The only universal industry for the
millions is spinning and no other. That does not mean that other
industries do not matter or are useless. Indeed from the individual
standpoint, and other industry would be more remunerative than
spinning. Watch making will be no doubt a most remunerative and
fascinating industry. But how many can engage in it? Is it of any
use to the millions of villagers? But if the villagers can
reconstruct their home, begin to live again as their forefathers
did, if they begin to make good use of their idle hours, all else,
all the other industries, will revive as a matter of course.
Young India, 30-9-26, p. 341
The revival (of charkha) cannot take
place without an army of selfless Indians of intelligence and
patriotism working with a single mind in the villages to spread the
message of the Charkha and bring a ray of hope and light in to their
lusterless eyes. This is a mighty effort at co-operation and adult
education of the correct type. It brings about a silent and sure
revolution like the silent but sure and life-giving revolution of
Twenty years’ experience of Charkha
work has convinced me of the correctness of the argument here
advanced by me. The Charkha has served the poor Muslims and Hindus
in almost an equal measure. Nearly five crores of rupees have been
put into the pockets of these lakhs of village artisans without fuss
Hence I say without hesitation that
the Charkha must lead us to Swaraj in terms of the masses belonging
to all faiths. The Charkha restores the villages to their rightful
place and abolishes distinctions between high and low.
Harijan, 13-4-40, p. 85
The spinning wheel is a symbol not of
commercial war but of commercial peace. It bears not a message of
ill-will towards the nations of the earth but of goodwill and
self-help. It will not need the protection of a navy threatening a
world’s peace and exploiting its resources, but it needs the
religious determination of millions to spin their yarn in their own
homes as today they cook their food in their own homes. I may
deserve the curses of posterity for many mistakes of omission and
commission, but I am confident of earning its blessings for
suggesting a revival of the Charkha. I take my all on it. For every
revolution of the wheel spins peace, goodwill and love.
Yong India, 8-2-21, p. 406
It is my claim that (by reviving Khadi
and other village industries) we shall evolved so far that we shall
remodel national life in keeping with the ideal of simplicity and
domesticity implanted in the bosom of the masses. We will not then
be dragged into an imperialism which is built upon exploitation of
the weaker races of the earth, and the acceptance of a giddy
materialistic civilization protected by naval and air forces that
have made peaceful living almost impossible. On the contrary we
shall then refine that imperialism in to a commonwealth of nations
which will combine, if they do, for the purpose of giving their best
to the world and of protecting, not by brute-force but by
self-suffering, the weaker nations or races of the earth… Such a
transformation can come only after the complete success of the
spinning wheel. India can become fit for delivering such a message,
when she has become proof against temptation and therefore attacks
from outside, by becoming self-contained regarding two of her chief
needs-food and clothing.
Young India, 29-6-21, p. 206
When once we have revived the one
industry (Khadi), all the other industries will follow. I would make
the spinning wheel the foundation on which to build a sound village
life; I would make the wheel the center round which all other
activities will revolve.
Young India, 21-5-25, p. 177
My experience tells me that in order
to make Khadi universal both in the cities and villages, it should
be made available only in exchange for yarn. As time passes I hope
people will themselves insist on buying Khadi through yarn currency.
If, however, this does not happen and they produce yarn grudgingly,
I fear Swaraj through non-violence will be impossible.
Swaraj Through Charkha, (1945), p. 5
The Charkha is the symbol of
non-violent economic self-sufficiency. If we and the people grasp
this significance of the Charkha not a pice need be spent on
propaganda for the Charkha. Nor need we look to the rich for alms.
We shall without effort become the centre of hope, and the people
will come to us of their own accord. They will not go elsewhere to
Every village will become the
nerve-centre of independence India. India will then not be known by
her cities like Bombay and Calcutta, but by her 400 millions
inhabiting the seven lakhs of villages. The problems of Hindu-Muslim
differences, untouchability, conflicts, misunderstandings and
rivalries will all melt away. This is the real function of the
Sangh-1 we have to live and die for it.
Khadi-Why and How, (1959), p. 150
Now I feel that Khadi alone cannot
revive the villages. Village uplift is possible only when we
rejuvenate village life as a whole, revive all village industries
and make the entire village industrious.
Khadi- Why and How, (1959), p. 181
Our reason for putting forward Khadi
is that it is the only way to redeem the people from the disease of
inertia and indifference, the only way to generate in them the
strength for freedom. I other crafts are also thus revitalized; our
villages could be made self-sufficient and self-reliant.
Khadi-Why and How, (1959), p. 185
What we are required to prove above
all is the necessity for Khadi for establishing a strong,
non-violent village economy.
Khadi-Why and How, (1959), p. 189
Ponder and realize wealth this would
mean to India, if 300 crores worth of cloth is produced by their own
hands in the villages. This is a veritable mint of gold for them and
if Khadi became universal, the villages will rise to unknown
heights. Today our masses are poverty-stricken, without the luster
of hope or intelligence in their eyes. The pure hands of the
spinners could create this miracle for them and everyone could help.
They should have understanding hearts and seeing eyes to detect the
beauty in Khaddar even if it is coarse and not be allured by mill
finery which could never clothe their nakedness in the true sense of
the term. The only way to clothe their nakedness and drive away the
hunger is for them to grow their own food and make their own cloth.
If this happy consummation can be achieved, the eyes of the whole
world will be turned towards India.
Harijan, 22-9-46, p. 322
1. All India spinners Association