“Khadi” is an Indian Handspun and Hand woven cloth. The yarns are handspun on the Charkha and they are woven into a fabric by using Handloom. The yarns, primarily are spun from cotton, though Silk or Wool is also used.
Khadi has a prominent place in freedom struggle of India. It started with an attempt to relieve the poverty and to uplift the standards of Indian village people. Gandhiji, believed that Swadeshi is the first step towards independence. And Khadi – pure swadeshi i.e. indigenously manufactured – became the natural choice.
For Indian people, Khadi represents the Gandhian ideas of simplicity and Swadeshi spirit. Various boards/commissions have been formed by the government of India to take care of Khadi evolution and development. A separate Board called the All India Khadi Board was established in December, 1923. The All India Spinner’s Association, also known as Akhil Bhartiya Charkha Sangh, was formed in 1925. After independence, The all India Khadi and Village Industrial Board (KVIB) was formed which was succeeded later by the Khadi and Village Industry Commission (KVIC).
The main functions of KVIC, include planning, promotion, organization and implementation of program for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary. Established in April 1957, it took over the former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
Production of Khadi includes cotton growing, picking, ginning, cleaning, carding, slivering, spinning, sizing, dyeing, preparing the warp and woof, weaving and winding. Khadi is the finest example of hand spinning and hand weaving where the finest of the counts are woven.
Hand spinning on the traditional Indian Charkha has unfortunately become the most neglected and forgotten strength of Khadi. The faster semi-mechanized Amber charkha has been in favor lately. Hand spinning up to 115’s count is developed on traditional Indian charkha and 115-150’s on Ambar charkha so that they can compete with mill yarns which average at 120’s count. The major difference between the Traditional Indian Charkhas and Ambar charkha is in the TWIST. The hand spun yarns of the traditional spinning wheel have a much lower twist than the mechanized Ambar spinning wheel which is a manual counterpart to the mill spinning mechanism. Thus the fabric developed through the weaving of hand spun yarn is more soft and absorbent.
Cool in summers and Warm in winters, Khadi is hand woven and hand spun fabric which takes time to be made. The hand woven fabric forms air pockets in the fabric due to the thick and thin places created during hand spinning and is therefore, cooler, softer, more absorbent and breathes better than highly uniform and compact machine made fabrics. The added breath ability means the fabric will stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Hand woven fabric also has a textural beauty and visible character. Khadi cotton is a very strong fabric even when it is wet, so it holds up very well to repeat laundering. It has a handcrafted self-texture making each Khadi cloth unique and expensive.
Appearance Grade Khadi yarn has got a unique appearance as compared to mill yarn. This is mainly due to presence of unevenness and imperfections in the yarn. The imperfections mean thick and thin places and also the neps present along the length of the yarn. The imperfections in Khadi yarn are generally much higher than what in observed in ring yarn and presence of them to some extent gives the Khadi fabric the unique look and texture.
Khadi over the decades has moved from a freedom fighter‘s identity fabric to a fashion garment. The world of fashion has started taking a note of the importance of natural fabrics like KHADI that exudes the sense of simplicity with grace & style.