Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Khadi can become a source of inspiration for achieving the dream of developed and Atmanirbhar Bharat. Once a symbol of self-respect, Khadi or the homespun was treated as an inferior product after Independence, he rued, and appealed people to gift the products of only Khadi village industries during the coming festive season.
The prime minister was speaking during “Khadi Utsav” (Khadi festival) on Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, organized by the Union government as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
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A new record was created on Saturday during the 75th anniversary of India's Independence as 7,500 women spun charkha (spinning wheel) together at the event, the prime minister noted, adding that it was a great way to honour the freedom fighters. The prime minister, too, spun the charkha on the occasion. “History has seen that a thread of khadi became a source of inspiration for the freedom struggle and broke the chains of slavery. In the same way a thread of Khadi can be a source of inspiration to fulfil the pledge of making India a developed nation, to achieve the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India),” he said in his speech.
Mahatma Gandhi turned Khadi into a symbol of the country's self-respect during the freedom struggle, he said. “The same Khadi was treated as an inferior product after Independence. Because of this, Khadi and the village industry associated with Khadi were destroyed and it affected our weavers,” Modi said. He tried to revive the Khadi movement after becoming prime minister, he said. “The condition of Khadi was very painful, especially for Gujarat where a large number of people depended on the Khadi ecosystem.”
He was proud that Khadi was revived once again in the state, he said while underlining the government's promotion slogan of “Khadi for Transformation to Khadi for Nation, Khadi for Fashion”. “We started spreading Gujarat's successful experiences across the country (after he became PM). The problems related to Khadi were resolved across the country. We encouraged the countrymen to buy Khadi products,” the prime minister said. “Women power is also a major contributor to the growing strength of India's Khadi industry,” Modi said.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is ingrained "in our sisters and daughters" and the expansion of `Sakhi Mandals' in Gujarat was its proof, he said. “The sale of Khadi has seen fourfold increase in the last eight years (in the country), whereas in Gujarat, it has witnessed a massive eightfold increase in the same period,” he said. The Khadi sector also created 1.75 crore new jobs, the prime minister said. Khadi is also an example of sustainable, eco-friendly clothing with the least carbon footprint, he said, appealing people to gift only the products made by Khadi village industries during the coming festive season.
“You can have clothes made of different types of fabrics. But if you include Khadi in that, the Vocal for Local campaign will gain momentum," the prime minister said. Modi also inaugurated a new building of Khadi Gramudhyog Bhavan in Ahmedabad and Atal foot overbridge on Sabarmati river at the same event.