Khadi weaving is a government-subsidized industry created by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s. As part of the struggle for independence, Gandhi ji encouraged khadi cotton spinning and weaving to support self-sustainability throughout India. Today every main city has a khadi center, which purchases textiles from weavers all over India and sells it at a subsidized rate.
Khadi is a wonderful and versatile cotton cloth, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Its handloom weave feel gives it charm and it becomes softer after every washing.
The khadi center, we visited, was an old and sleepy one. The basements were large. You had to make your way through corridors with piles of neatly stored fabrics. What would normally have taken us an hour ended up taking the entire day. Every time we got anywhere, a wonderful lady and gentleman who were helping us would stop us and tell us: “first, a chai break!”. Chai would be served. We would all sit beneath whirring fans, examining the selection I had made, and letting me know if I had chosen the appropriate shades or not. It made the entire process very pleasant.
We purchased a few batches of khadi, took them to Jaipur and had them printed with our gold and silver sadu motif stripes.
(Image courtesy of Nur Kaoukji)