By Lisa N. Trivedi
In garments Gandhi's country, Lisa Trivedi explores the making of 1 of contemporary India's so much enduring political symbols, khadi: a homespun, home-woven fabric. similar to Mohandas ok. Gandhi clothed easily in a loincloth and plying a spinning wheel is commonly used around the globe, as is the sight of Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and different political leaders wearing "Gandhi caps" and khadi shirts. much less greatly understood is how those photos affiliate the wearers with the swadeshi movement—which endorsed the particular intake of indigenous items to set up India's autonomy from nice Britain—or how khadi was once used to create a visible expression of nationwide id after Independence. Trivedi brings jointly social background and the examine of visible tradition to account for khadi as either image and commodity. Written in a transparent narrative variety, the ebook offers a cultural historical past of vital and specific elements of recent Indian history.
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Extra info for Clothing Gandhi's Nation: Homespun and Modern India
The coordinated efforts of the Khaddar Board and the Spinners’ Association made it possible for Gandhi and his supporters to introduce the ashram’s experiments to the broader public. 3 Thus, over the course of the 1920s, khadi itself was transformed from the emblem of Gandhi’s utopian politics into a broader symbol that would endure long after the politics of Gandhi and his era. The Roots of Gandhian Swadeshi European traders traveled to the Indian subcontinent for spices in the seventeenth century, but it was her cloth, and eventually her cotton, that figured so significantly in India’s colonization.
Under the direction of the Spinners’ Association, swadeshi politics in the second half of the 1920s attracted new supporters by significantly widening the definition of “swadeshi” and the scope of its program. Despite its tumultuous beginning and the limitations of Gandhian ideology, the swadeshi movement eventually found popular support that transformed khadi into the single most important symbol of the modern Indian nation. Over the course of a decade and a half, khadi emerged as a symbol through which people otherwise divided by language, region, religion and caste could imagine themselves as part of a national community.
If khadi was so much more expensive, Roy asked, how could one expect the average person to afford it? Gandhi and his associates never responded effectively. Rather than denying that khadi was expensive, they elaborated on the various activities being carried out by workers to lower its cost. On other occasions, they sidestepped the issue altogether by arguing that khadi’s cost would not matter when the public took up the swadeshi challenge and produced enough cloth to meet its needs. In light of the kinds of criticism mentioned above, which began emerging in 1923 and continued throughout the nationalist period, and the poor performance of khadi businesses, Bajaj and his associates focused their efforts on improving the economic viability of their product by changing the way the Khaddar Board had been supporting khadi businesses.