Khadi, also known as Khaddar, is a hand-spun and handwoven class of fabrics, made of natural fibers. It is usually woven using cotton, but it is also made from silk and wool. Generally known for its coarse rough texture, Khadi is a versatile fabric, which keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The natural fibers are spun into yarn, on a spinning wheel called “Charakha”, which was a symbol of self-sufficiency and freedom, to such an extent that the first Indian flag designed had the Charkha etched in the middle, on the horizontal rectangular tricolor of saffron, white and green, which was later replaced by the Ashoka Chakra.
Khadi, for Indians, was not just a mere piece of cloth, but it was a way of life. With its historical value, it is highly valued in the current society, as it was the first lesson given to us about real independence, by Mahatma Gandhi. As a core of the infamous Swadeshi Movement, where foreign goods were boycotted by Indians, Khadi came to the rescue. It provided employment and hence food to poor people who spun and weaved Khadi cloth, being made of cotton, it helped the farmers earn and with its austere, simple nature, it became a statement in itself, connecting everyone to the freedom movement, to Gandhi and to all those who believed in his values and ways of lifestyle.
As reported in 2019, the overall Khadi sales in India have risen by 28% over the last 5 years. The revenues generated from Khadi in the last financial year have been 3215 crores and the target of 5000 crore revenue generation by 2020 has been set up.
In addition to various state boards and/or cooperative societies, such as Haryana Khadi and Village Industries Board, Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society, Gujarat State Handloom, and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd, etc. set up for the production, promotion, sales and marketing of Khadi, several institutes are involved in the research and training in this area, such as the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, Champa and Institute of Handloom and Textile Technology. As an international corporation, Handicraft and handlooms export is focused on popularizing Khadi overseas.