Khadi

As all things, this too has finally come to pass. Of all of my kurtas, it was my favorite. It was born for me in Chandni Chowk, and it went with me everywhere I went for eleven years. I never thought I would have an attachment to an article of clothing, but it is the only garment that I always wanted to wear.

RIP.

If you have never worn khadi — the traditional handspun, hand-woven cotton, wool or silk cloth of India — not only will such comfort and durability go unbeknownst to you, but you might also miss out on its incredible history. Spun since ancient times on a charkha, the traditional spinning wheel was even to be placed on the Indian flag as a symbol of the Swadeshi Movement that boycotted the monopoly of the British Raj and popularized by none other than Mahatma Gandhi.

Don’t let its starchy roughness deter you upon purchase. Keep wearing and washing it and it will turn into the softest and most durable garment you’ve ever had, wrapping you in the comfort of the Mahatma’s words:

If we have the ‘khadi spirit’ in us, we would surround ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life. The ‘khadi spirit’ means illimitable patience. For those who know anything about the production of khadi know how patiently the spinners and the weavers have to toil at their trade, and even so must we have patience while we are spinning ‘the thread of Swaraj’. The ‘khadi spirit’ means also an equally illimitable faith. Even as the spinner toiling away at the yarn he spins by itself small enough, put in the aggregate, would be enough to clothe every human being in India, so must we have illimitable faith in truth and non-violence ultimately conquering every obstacle in our way.

800px-Gandhi_spinning

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A native of Chicago, Ricky Toledano has lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for over twenty years as a writer, translator and teacher. [a]multipicity is multi-lingual collection of reflections through the humanities.

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