Khadi: The idea and its relevance

“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’.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

‘Khadi’ derived from the word ‘Khaddar’ refers to handspun and handwoven fabric made from cotton, silk or woollen fibre produced in the regions of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In the early 20th century, Khadi was resurrected by Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol for freedom from colonial rule and as a tool to ignite hope among the rural masses. 

From the Swadeshi movement then to the idea of Atmanirbhar Bharat now, Khadi, with its high employment potential and low carbon footprint, stands for the spirit of self-reliance & economic freedom. 

However, in the age of start-up culture and e-commerce ecosystems, intelligent luxury and sustainable fashion, has the Freedom Fabric claimed its rightful economic space?

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Unlock Khadi

Through research, deliberations and stakeholder engagements, the #UnlockKhadi’ campaign seeks to advocate for policy reforms in the Khadi sector.


Local to Global: Easing policy provisions to unlock the potential of the Khadi Value Chain through Farm-Fibre-Fabric-Fashion-Foreign.

Humans of Khadi: Improve the lives of Khadi spinners and weavers, especially the women artisans, by capacity building and providing visibility to their concerns.

Regulate Not Restrict: Revisiting restrictive provisions to facilitate operations of khadi businesses and create uniformity in processes for Khadi Institutions and new entrants to the sector.

Join the Unlock Khadi Initiative

For queries and conversations on #UnlockKhadi Initiative, write to



A background:

CPPR has been conducting research on the Khadi sector since 2016. An extensive evaluation of the sector conducted by Dr. Lekshmi Nair and Dr. D Dhanuraj, revealed glaring gaps in the existing regulatory protocols and the challenges faced by new entrants to the sector. The regulations were intended to help promote khadi but have in turn inhibited its growth. It occupies a minuscule share in India’s textile exports.

Resources and Articles

October 4, 2021

This was not Gandhi’s idea of khadi

Jaya Jaitly writes: The cloth was something to be freely made and proudly worn by all citizens. Instead, its production has been put in a straitjacket by rules and acts. In a Mann ki Baat broadcast in 2019 and another […]
October 4, 2021

Time for implementing Gandhian idea of Khadi

We just celebrated Gandhi Jayanti and all that come as a flash in front of our eyes is the image of him spinning charkha and wearing khadi. ‘Khadi’ or ‘khaddar’ as called in rural areas was woven on simple looms […]