Gandhi's Views On Khadi
Gandhi's Quotes on Khadi
I believe that where there is
pure and active love for the poor there is God also. I see God in every
thread that I draw on the spinning wheel.
( Young India,20-5-1926)
The spinning wheel represents
to me the hope of the masses. The masses lost their freedom, such as it
was, with the loss of the Charkha. The Charkha supplemented the
agriculture of the villagers and gave it dignity. It was the friend and
the solace of the widow. It kept the villagers from idleness. For the
Charkha included all the anterior and posterior industries- ginning,
carding, warping, sizing, dyeing and weaving. These in their turn kept the
village carpenter and the blacksmith busy. The Charkha enabled the seven
hundred thousand villages to become self contained. With the exit of
Charkha went the other village industries, such as the oil press. Nothing
took the place of these industries. Therefore the villagers were drained
of their varied occupations and their creative talent and what little
wealth these bought them.
The industrialized countries
of the West were exploiting other nations. India is herself an exploited
country. Hence, if the villagers are to come into their own, the most
natural thing that suggests itself is the revival of the Charkha and all
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 other industries cannot grow. But during my last tour I
discovered that, without the revival of other industries, khadi could not
make further progress. For villagers to be able to occupy their spare time
profitably, the village must be touched at all points.
I claim that in losing the
spinning wheel we lost our left lung. We are therefore suffering from
galloping consumption. The restoration of the wheel arrests the progress
of the fell disease. There are certain things which all must do in certain
climes. . The spinning wheel is the thing which all must turn in the
Indian clime for the transition stage at any rate and the vast majority
must for all time.
(Young India, 13-10-1921)
The wearer of Khadi from a
Swadeshi standpoint is like a man making use of his lungs. A natural and
obligatory act has got to be performed, whether others do it out of impure
motives or refrain altogether because they do not believe in its necessity
Charkha is the symbol of the
nation's prosperity and therefore freedom. It 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 curse 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 stake my all on it.
For every revolution of the wheel spins peace, goodwill and love. And with
all that, inasmuch as the loss of it brought about India's slavery, its
voluntary revival with all its implications must mean India's freedom.
If we have the 'khadi spirit'
in us, we would surround ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life.
The 'khadi spirit' means illimitable patience. For those who know anything
about the production of khadi know how patiently the spinners and the
weavers have to toil at their trade, and even so must we have patience
while we are spinning 'the thread of Swaraj'. The 'khadi spirit' means
also an equally illimitable faith. Even as the spinner toiling away at the
yarn he spins by itself small enough, put in the aggregate, would be
enough to clothe every human being in India, so must we have illimitable
faith in truth and non-violence ultimately conquering every obstacle in
The 'khadi spirit' means
fellow-feeling with every human being on earth. It means a complete
renunciation of everything that is likely to harm our fellow creatures,
and if we but cultivate that spirit amongst the millions of our
countrymen, what a land this India of ours would be! And the more I move
about the country and the more I see the things for myself, the richer,
the stronger is my faith growing in the capacity of the spinning wheel.
( Young India, 22- 9-1927)
Khadi is the only seemingly
expensive. I have pointed out that it is wrong to compare khadi with other
cloth by comparing the prices of given lengths. The inexpensiveness of
khadi consists in the revolution of one's taste. The wearing of khadi
replaces the conventional idea of wearing clothes for ornament by that of
wearing them for use.
(Young India, 7-8-1924)
Khadi stands for simplicity,
not shoddiness. It sits well on the shoulders of the poor, and it can be
made, as it was made in the days of the yore, to adorn the bodies of the
richest and the most artistic men and women. It is reviving ancient art
and crafts. It does not seek to destroy all machinery but it dies regulate
its use and check its weedy growth. It uses machinery for the service of
the poorest in their own cottages. The wheel is itself an exquisite piece
Khadi delivers the poor from
the bonds of the rich and creates a moral and spiritual bond between the
classes and the masses. It restores to the poor somewhat of what the rich
have taken from them.
(Young India, 17-3-1927)
The mission of khadi is not
merely to supply the townspeople with fashionable khadi that will vie with
the mill manufacturers and thus like other industries supply a few
artisans with employment, but it is to become a supplementary industry to
agriculture. This mission still remains unfulfilled.
In order that it may fulfill
this mission, it has to be self-sustained and its use must spread in the
villages. Just as the villagers cook their own roti or rice, so must they
make their own khadi for personal use. The surplus, if any, they may sell.
A country remains poor in
wealth, both materially and intellectually, if it does not develop its
handicrafts and its industries and lives a lazy parasitic life by
importing all the manufactured articles from outside. There was a time
when we manufactured almost all we wanted. The process is now reversed,
and we are dependent upon the outside world for most manufactured goods.
The past year brought forth a remarkable awakening of the Swadeshi
spirit. It has therefore become necessary to define Swadeshi goods. But in
giving a definition care had to be taken not to make the definition so
narrow as to make manufacture all but impossible or so wide as to become
farcical and Swadeshi only in name. We do not want to follow the
frog-in-the-well policy, nor in seeming to be international, lose our
roots. We cannot be international, if we lose our individuality, i. e.,
(Young India, 20-8-1931)
It is not enough to say that
hand-spinning is one of the industries to be revived. It is necessary to
insist that it is the central industry that must engage our attention if
we are to re-establish the village home.
It is my claim that as soon as
we have completed the boycott of foreign cloth we shall have evolved so
far that we shall necessarily give up the present absurdities and 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 into 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 he earth. Non-cooperation aims
at nothing less than this revolution in the thought world. 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
(Young India, 29-6-1921)
Economics that hurt the moral
well-being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful.
Thus the economics that permit one country to prey upon another are
immoral. It is sinful to buy and use articles made by sweated labour. It
is sinful to eat American wheat and let my neighbour the grain-dealer
starve for want of custom.
(Young India, 13-10-1921)
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.
There is an art that kills and
an art that gives life. The fine fabric that we import from the west or
the Far East has literally killed millions of our brothers and sisters,
and delivered thousands of our dear sisters to a life of shame. True art
must be evidence of happiness, contentment and purity of its authors. And
if you will have such art revived in our midst, the use of khadi is
obligatory on the best of you at the present moment.
India's destiny lies not along
the bloody way of the west, of which she shows signs of tiredness, but
along the bloodless way of peace that comes from a simple and godly life.
India is in danger of losing her soul. She cannot lose it and live. She
must not, therefore, lazily and helplessly say, 'I cannot escape the
onrush from the west.' She must be strong enough to resist it for her own
sake and that of the world.
"Do spin and spin after due
deliberation. Let those who spin wear khaddar and let no one who wears (khadi)
fail to spin. 'Due deliberation' means realization that charkha or act of
spinning is the symbol of non-violence. Ponder; it will be self-evident."