Apr 12, 2013

K is for Khaadi !

Khaadi – the hand spun cloth that was once such an integral part of India’s Freedom Struggle!
In our home Khaadi is not just a piece of cloth. It is a tradition, a reminder of a whole bygone era. My grandfather was very active in the freedom struggle and he resolved to always wear Khaadi in support of the Swadeshi movement. He even had a Charkha (spinning wheel) that he used, to spin cotton into thread. 

Mahatma Gandhi's Charkha at Sabarmati Ashram ! 
Till his dying day, My grandfather wore nothing but clothes bought at the Khaadi Bhandar. My images are of him always in a pure white Kurta Pyajama and a Khaadi Jacket that he used in winter. If he had to dress formally, He would wear a black Sherwani  on top of his Kurta. White kurtas pajamas - Crisp and starched and a Black Sherwani unadorned by anything except his pocket watch - It was the ultimate chic look. 

My cousin chose to wear the same attire on his wedding, disregarding the fancy Achakans and Sherwanis that Grooms favor these days. It was his way of honoring our grandfather. 

My aunts and Father wore Khadi for a while and then the lure of silk and chiffon was too much for my aunts ! 
The task of carrying on the Khaadi tradition fell on me! 

As long as I remember I have worn Khaadi. In the beginning I might have been influenced by my Grandfather. But then I genuinely found it to be very comfortable. Khaadi may seem like a rough cloth to many but for me it has a certain homey and snug feeling. 
Its a misconception that Khaadi jackets and kurtas come only in either white or a dull green. They come in all designs and colors and you have a lot to choose from!

The great thing about Khaadi is that it’s cool in summer and really warm in winter. I have lived my teens and university years in jeans and Khaadi Kurtas. I had, and still have kurtas of every color.  

Once I entered JNU my obsession with khaadi increased and when I added a Cotton Jhola to go with my attire I became an integral part of the JNU Jhola culture!

I use a lot of Khaadi Jackets in winter and believe me they are my saviors in the harsh Delhi winters. I think they look really ethnic and smart when worn with jeans and a full sleeved shirt or top. You can wear them with your Salwar Kameez as well !
Over the years my loyalty has shifted from Khadi Bhandars to Fab India. It’s been my favorite haunt since my University days! 

Khaadi is now considered the attire of intellectuals - Specially in Delhi. Someone wearing Khaadi is automatically labeled as either a journalist or a writer or someone in the field of arts like dramatics !

Khaadi may not be very popular among the general public these days but I do believe that it is a integral part of our legacy and something that we should not forget!

48 comments:

  1. i too have a love towards the kurtas in fab india :) but are they khadi products? if they are, i never knew it.

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    1. All of them are pure cotton. I don't know which Fab India you have gone to but the ones in Delhi have a very good Khaadi collection - especially in winter !

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  2. I also love khadi. It used to be compulsory to wear khadi at Banasthali where I studied.
    Khadi is also an integral part of politicians' wardrobe :O

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  3. Absolutely love khadi - it looks regal to me!

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  4. Can't thank you enough for the post. Brings back teen memories of self sewed Khadi kurtis adorned with monochromatic hand embroideries (thanks to the creative mom!)
    I have a request for you - can you please share a picture of your Grand dad with us? Have to add, your post gave me goosebumps - sepcially when I read about the choice of cousin's wedding dress.
    Cheers from a fellow Khadi fan:-)
    Laxmi

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    1. I don't have a scanned pic of him ..But I will scan it try to share ! Self sewn Khadi kurtis wow !

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  5. Legacies are very important. I knew nothing of this, so thank you for sharing!

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  6. My grandmother was a great follower of Gandhiji and a freedom fighter. She always wore khaadi. She also had a charkha and spun her own thread. Your post brought back these memories.

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    1. Thank you Suzy. When we look at his Charkha, we realize what legacy we have !

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  7. You mi'lady have just described my fav outfit ever. Jeans and a kurti. Though Khadi I don't own so much, but totally get the jhola look. Ah, the price we pay to look intelligent :D

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  8. How very amazing Ruchira! I too have a deep love for Khadi. I love the cloth that is cool in summer and warm in winters. Only, I've never worn a khadi saree. I haven't seen any in my local Khadi Bhandaar.

    Pleased to know there are others like me. :)

    Dagny

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    1. I dont think you get too many Khadi sarees these days ...

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  9. Wow ! I m really looking forward to meeting you and photographing you ! :D :D

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  10. So impressed that you carry on your grandfather's legacy! As you said, it is now easy to do so what with Fab India making very chic clothes! And you're right about khadi being a perfect cloth for Indian weather!
    Didn't know you were a JNU alumni! You're right about the jhola culture there...similar to Presidency college in Calcutta!

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    1. I have always wanted to visit Presidency ...

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  11. You took me back to the Univ days - khadi kurta, jeans and jhola. I was a part of that tradition to ... hmmm time to hit Fab India methinks

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    1. I have been feeling so nostalgic about JNU !

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  12. I must admit that I was not a big Khaadi fan. Not until now. Also, I was one of those who thought that Khaadi comes in either dull white or green and nothing else. I usually go to Khaadi store in CP to pick up soaps and lotions etc. You have described it so well, I think I am gonna grab some kurtas for harsh Delhi summers soon!

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  13. Khadi is indeed very comfortable wear for the hot summers down south. It makes a statement too :)

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  14. I love khadi kurtas anytime,anywhere :)

    PhenoMenon
    http://capturedalive.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/kite/

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  15. Fab India is my fav too. I have many khadi kurtis so same pinch there ;) and I wear them with jeans too
    I bought many for my husb and he loved them
    they come in many colors like u told and in industrial exhibitions or cloth fairs its just amazing to pick from a huge collection !
    lovely post

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  16. I not only buy out kurtas from the K bhandar, I buy even soaps and lotions from there :)

    Loved the grandpa memories. My nanaji loves Khadijah too.

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  17. I love Khaadi too and also FabIndia :) My Khadi jacket has earned me the label of a writer and I love it. Beautiful post, Ruchira.

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  18. I love fab India too thou off late I hv started wondering if they are getting too pricey

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  19. When I was still in school, my aunt got a khadi kurta for my younger brother as his birthday gift. That was the first time I laid my eyes on khadi. It was a dull creme kurta with multicolored weaves. I loved it and was so happy when it did not fir my brother and was a few sizes larger and automatically, it got transferred to me. Later, I was seen in that kurta almost every other day, winter or summer. It broke my heart when I out grew it. :(

    Since then I have been hunting for a smimlar kurta but haven't found one yet. Innumerable visits to FabIndia/ Khadi Bhandar later, I am still searching to find one similar to what my buaa got from a store at Lucknow.

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  20. Now, why am I not surprised. Not only do you have a precious connection with khadi via your grandfather, you also have a perpetual one on account of being from JNU! :D
    I really like such nostalgia filled posts that you write!

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    1. Thank You Rickie ! I do like going down the memory lane !

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  21. Nice post. I too a khadi afficinado and love the fabric..

    Wonder where to buy them from in delhi/gurgaon at cheaper price. I had many of them during my teenage and absolute adore the aura they create.

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  22. I used Fab India kurtis while in college, and I found them extremely comfortable for Chennai Weather. I din't like the color choices they had then - very dull, sober colors, but never complained then becoz of the comfy level I was in.

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  24. Wow. I love this post. I am big fan of Khadi myself.The fabric truly feels so snug in winter and cool in summer. I get Khadi material from Khadi stores and commercialize it by getting them stitched as per Rohit Bal's linen designs.

    Glad you wrote this one today *Cheshire-cat grin*

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  25. khadi is indeed a treasured legacy- sigh , we don't give its due ! I agree that it need not be boring as it does come in a lot of colurs. I once was a khadi person- time to replenish my wardrobe now !

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  26. Really nice descriptions.

    Blogging from A to Z Challenge
    http://www.shellygoodmanwright.com/apps/blog/show/25611294-killing-a-character

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  27. I love Jhadi a lot...had a couple of dresses myslef ...want to go and fill my wardrobe with khadi once again ! :)

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  28. Ruchira, I've always liked the look and feel of khadi, even though I've never owned any item of clothing in this material. It was very nice to read the tradition of khadi wearing in your family. I commend your cousin for honouring his grandfather at his wedding, and kudos to you for doing your bit for our national fabric.

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  29. A treasured legacy being carried forward. Good to see this post.

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  30. Just after college, Khadi formed a large part of my wardrobe and I got a few kurtas 2-3 years ago. Dont know about other places but Khadi stores in Rajasthan have such wonderful and newer types of Khadi prints and cloths also there is such a huge variety to choose from.

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  31. I love khadi, my family shops at khadi bhandhar and we love khaki shawls. :)

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  32. Amazing. Reminded me of my grandfather who also lived in a white Khadi kurta. He wore a white dhoti instead of pyjamas, since he was based in the South of India. Was in the Freedom movement too and a Gandhian. Lovely post. Would've been even better if you'd added some pics of your Khadi collection! :)

    Four Leaf Clover

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  33. Coming from the Land of the Mahatma, Khadi tops my list too :)

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  34. Loved your article.
    I have a question: What makes khadi warm in winter and cool in summer? Please reply.

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