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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Round Table on Towards Sustainability: Elevating Khadi as the Fabric of the Future

Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) jointly with All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA), the Foundation for MSME Clusters (FMC), and Save The Loom (STL), has scheduled to organise a Roundtable Discussion on Khadi with the theme “Towards Sustainability- Elevating Khadi as the Fabric of the Future” as part of CPPR’s project #UnLockKhadi: Towards Sustainability.

Date and Venue: 25th August (Thursday) 2022 from 9.30 AM to 1:00 PM IST at the USO International Centre, New Delhi.

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 [email protected].



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.

Policy Brief

Towards Sustainability: Elevating Khadi as the Fabric of the Future

Towards Sustainability: Elevating Khadi as the Fabric of the Future

Resources and Articles

June 27, 2022

Khadi artisans’ struggle for economic emancipation

Khadi, as Gandhi envisioned, promotes the philosophy of self-reliance and indigeneity. A fundamental feature of khadi production entailed a constructive development of rural sections via collective action- characterised by local sourcing, local production and selling. Today there is a marked […]
January 1, 2022

Khadi Tangled in Regulation

Article written by Akanksha Borawake, former Associate, Research at CPPR, Nissy Solomon, Senior Associate, Research at CPPR published in Ujjwal Duniya, Jharkhand on January 1, 2022. Abstract of the Article The excessive control exercised by the government over the Khadi industry […]