Where is the real khadi?
Last weekend I happened to drive past the Khairtabad road, there was an exhibition on Khadi and Gramodyog at Institute of Engineers that caught my attention. It was long since I came across a government sponsored event that dedicatedly promoted Khadi except the regular stall at the annual industrial exhibition at Nampally.
Years ago the big Khadi shop at Kothi was turned into a small and insignificant outlet by moving it somewhere in the bylanes behind the Andhra Bank. Rest of the Khadi shops along the Lakdi-ka-pool area have hardly any genuine Khadi; they mix up powerloom and other handloom stuff in the name of Khadi to cater to the symbolic requirements of our politicians.
Well, this exhibition had nothing great to offer in terms of genuine Khadi - neither material nor readymades. In fact, even the gramodyog stalls hardly had any handlooms or handspun ethnic wear. They were filled with machine-made garments and similar materials that too, mostly women's wear. The only exception was the terracota stalls from West Bengal that had some artistic pottery and other decorative items. There was some regular eatables like pickles, papads, jellies and jams that kept the visitors busy.
Where is the real handspun coarse khadi that signifies a certain identity, makes a statement, and promotes eco-friendliness. Is it limited to the designer wear and some privilieged and powerful segments of population in society? Or is it on its way out unable to adjust to the demands of mechanization in handspun and handloom industry.