The cloth is primarily woven from cotton and may also include silk, or wool, which are all spun into yarn on a spinning wheel called a charkha. It is a versatile fabric, cool in summer and warm in winter. In order to improve the look, khādī/khaddar is sometimes starched to give it a stiffer feel. It is widely accepted in fashion circles.
In India, Khadi is not just a cloth, it is a whole movement started by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Khadi movement promoted an ideology, an idea that Indians could be self-reliant on cotton and be free from the high priced goods and clothes which the British were selling to them. The British would buy cotton from India at cheap prices and export them to Britain where they were woven to make clothes. These clothes were then brought back to India to be sold at hefty prices. The khadi movement aimed at boycotting foreign goods including cotton and promoting Indian goods, thereby improving India's economy. Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khādī for rural self-employment and self-reliance (instead of using cloth manufactured industrially in Britain) in 1920s India thus making khadi an integral part and icon of the Swadeshi movement. The freedom struggle revolved around the use of khādī fabrics and the dumping of foreign-made clothes. When some people complained about the costliness of khadi to Mahatma Gandhi, he started wearing only dhoti.
Khadi, also known as "khaddar" has a long history in Bangladesh. In 6th century a local variation of Khadi cloth was described by Huen Tsang of China and Marco Polo in 12th century AD describes a fabrics, most probably khadi Muslin in the Bengal region to be as fine as the spider’s web.
Romans were great aficionados of Bengal khadi Muslin and imported vast amounts of fabrics. The khadi weaves of Comilla during the Mughal period were renowned as valuable textiles with distinctive characteristics.
During the years of the Indian self-rule movement and later with the independence of Bangladesh the spirit of khadi was driven with the winds of change. In 1921 Gandhi came to Chandina Upazila in comilla to inspire the local weavers and consequently a branch of ‘Nikhil Bharat Tantubai Samity’ was established to self-seed and proliferate the sale of goods to other major cities in India.
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- "Khadi Reviving the Heritage". the daily star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 2014-01-14.
- "The story of KHADI". the daily star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 2014-01-14.
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- Khadi Culture: Fabrcis from the roots of a nation!
- India's Khādī Culture
- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (Govt of India), Official website
- More about Khadi