Khadi Institution's stories
Khadi Institutions are certified institutions which produce and sell Khadi. Many of these institutions were formed under the guidance of Gandhi ji. These institutions have stood the test of time and have played a crucial role in the development of Khadi products supply chain.
In the first year of the program, CoEK is working with fifteen Khadi Institutions spread across all four regions of the country. These institutions are based in the states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and others.
Kshetriya Shri Gandhi Ashram, Lucknow
Moved by the speech of Mahatma Gandhi delivered in the Benaras University in the 1920s during the campaign non-cooperation movement, a group of Benaras university students were motivated to discontinue their education and contribute to nation building to carve out a strong foundation for an independent India. In search of the direction, this group of youngsters found a guide in Acharya J.B Kriplani. Then the inception and creation of Kshetriya Shri Gandhi Ashram commenced from a rented house in the lanes of Ishwar Gangi, Varanasi. Prominent leaders such as Gandhi Ji (himself), Jawahar Lal Nehru, Shri Govind Ballabh Pant, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Shri Vichitra Narain Sharma were lifetime trustees of this organisation. One of the organisation's key objectives was to serve society by providing rural livelihood opportunities at the doorsteps.
The Hazratganj building stands tall (image on the side) today as a testimony of the times the organisation has travelled. In the colonial era, the Hazaratganj building was a famous restaurant with a ballroom space for the British. After India's Independence, this building was taken up by Kshetriya Shri Gandhi Ashram and hosted a modern Khadi and Village Industries Commission's outlet.
Swarajya Ashram, Kanpur
Located in the heart of the vibrant city of Kanpur, the aim of creating Swaraj Ashram is rooted in the very name of this organisation. Ideated in the epoch of the life of free India, the history of this organisation dates back to the non-cooperation movement in the 1920s. The campaign decided that 'swaraj' (self-rule) would be achieved by spinning 2,00,000 charkhas. The seed of forming this organisation was sown by two disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Ramanand Gupta, and Shri Ganga Narayan Awasthi took upon themselves the task of fulfilling Gandhiji's ambition that he had envisioned to make India free. Ganga Narayan Awasthi formally registered the organisation in 1935 with a capital of INR 13000. The organisation stands tall today as a legacy of Indian freedom struggles and exemplifies its contribution to the freedom movement. Swaraj Ashram was graced by the leadership of India's Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastriji. Over the years, Swaraj Ashram carried forward the vision of its founders, set in the foundation of social work and rural empowerment.
Bikaner Visudh Khadi Gramodyog Samiti,
Mr Krishna Vyas, Secretary at Bikaner Vishudh Khadi Gramodyog, started as a trader and supplier of wool to the Khadi Institutions in Bikaner in 1975. He then decided to open his khadi Institution in 1990. The organisation was formally registered in 1993.
The organisation started producing carpets and blankets. In 2005- 2006, on the advice of the then-director of Khadi Gramodyog, Shri Satyapal, the institution ventured into manufacturing Khadi fabrics and apparel. In 2006- 2007 Khadi Gramodyog organised fashion shows to promote Khadi apparels, which increased demand for khadi.
In collaboration with R.U.D.A, the organisation facilitated training on how to stitch garments to promote self-employment. The Khadi Institution has 140 spinners and 30 weavers.
Gandhigram Khadi & V.I. Public Charitable Trust, Dindigal
Gandhigram is a non-profit organisation in Tamil Nadu. This organisation was founded by two dedicated disciples and contemporaries of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. T.S. Soundaram and Dr G. Ramachandran. The genesis of Gandhigram was from the vision of Mahatma Gandhi to empower villages and their holistic development. Dr Soundram and twenty of her colleagues had searched for the right place in conformity with Gandhiji’s vision of a true town. They lived in rented housing at Chinnalapatti while a few huts were hurriedly being made ready in the land chosen. The ashram was formally opened on 7th October 1947 and christened Gandhigram by Shri. B.G.Kher, the then premier of Bombay Presidency. In the beginning, primary education was the fulcrum of all its activities. Some of the other objectives of the Gandhigram were to start working on social welfare, particularly for women and children, medical and health care, and self-employment, primarily through hand spinning and weaving and other extension activities.
At the inaugural function of Gandhigram, Gandhiji had sent his good wishes with a message in his handwriting, which was sent as a telegram- stating, “Success Attains Where Truth Reigns”.
Padiyur Sarvodaya Sangh, Padiyur
Padiyur is a small village in the northern part of Kangayam block which is a draught prone area in Tirupur District in Tamil Nadu. The village has a long history to its credit. There are some mention about Padiyur in Mahabharata and Ramayana. In ancient days during Sangam period 2500 B.C and up to the 10th Century A.D, Padiyur was a flourishing commercial centre for exquisite jewellery items with precious stones in which green stones were predominant. Padiyur Sarvodaya Sangh was started in Tamil Nadu in 1923 and was managed by Tamil Nadu Congress Committe under the Charimanship of E.V. Ramasamy. As a part of the decentralization of Tamilnadu Sarvodaya Sangh, Padiyur Sarvodaya Sangh was born in the year 1961 with an area of operation consisting of 8 revenue villages and a population of 24,000.The Khadi activities were started at Padiyur during 1940 under All India Spinners Association.Its growth spanning over 50 years, the Sangh has now grown into a large institution containing 15 Branches and 88 workers with a 10 crore turnover in Khadi and village industry activities. The sangh has also established a small workshop, Non-edible oil, Soap unit, Village Leather unit, Neem oil Production unit, Agar batthi and Butter units. These village industrial units are situated in every branch of this Sangh for better performance. Padiyur Sarvodaya Sangh manufactures and displays a wide variety of textiles which includes silk, cotton, handlooms and crafts.
Bhal Nalkantha Khadi Gramodyog Mandal, Ranpur
Bhal Nalkantha Khadi Gramodyog Mandal was established in 1958 to empower the women and members of the backward class of the Bhal region of Gujarat. The institution was set up by Jain Muni sant Balji, who was engaged in social work for unemployed women and the Backward class community of Ranpur, Gujarat. He believed in the Gandhian vision of self-dependence and spent his life spreading awareness about the same. He was facilitated with Bharat Ratna in Ajmer to acknowledge his social contribution. Keeping Indian village development at the core, he worked towards creating employment opportunities and building educational institutions. He worked for the welfare of the Mal community of Ranpur. Since the women of the community were not allowed to work outside their homes, they were provided with the opportunity to spin. Local women are involved in spinning, hand weaving, hand knitting, dyeing and stitching woollen khadi products.
Babubhai Patel, the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 1976, had requested to start a khadi institution in the Bhal region of Gujarat to improve education, health and social welfare. Naval Bhai shah was the first chairman of the Bhal Nalkantha Khadi Gramodyog Mandal.
Kshetriya Khadi Gramodyog Samiti, Dausa
After the Indian Independence in 1948, Akhil Bharat Charkha Sangh was decentralised, and it was then that Rajasthan Khadi came into existence. Khadi Sangh was further split into block-level organisations, and the need for smaller-level organisations to form clusters of Khadi spinners and weavers. On the auspicious day of 1st April 1967 and under the guidance of Shri Naval Kishor Sharma, the Kshetriya Khadi Gramodyog Samiti was established in Dausa, Rajasthan. It was under the supervision of Shri Naval Kishor Sharmaji that the institution built itself into a national-level organisation. Kshetriya Khadi Gramodyog Samiti in Dausa works with 52 Panchayats and 240 villages. The Dausa wing of Khadi Gramodyog expanded at the Panchayat level with nine production centres and twenty-six spinning and weaving units. The institution works with cotton and wool Khadi fabrics and makes various products such as khadi Denim, polyvastra, shirting fabric, towel, dupatta, stitched apparel, etc. The institution has exhibited its Khadi products on International platforms and has been to Chile, Peru, Australia and Russia. At Kshetriya Khadi Gramodyog Samiti, the focus is on constant innovation and enhancing the skill of the employees.
Udyog Bharti, Gondal
Udyog Bharti was founded, in 1957, from a small rented room with ten spinners spinning yarn on Gandhi charkha. The organisation was started with the aim of women empowerment and empowering the backward classes of the Gondal region of Gujarat. Spinning gave women an occupation that they could pursue from their homes. It was started under the leadership of Mr Hargovindbhai Patel, who has engaged with Saurashtra rachnatmak Samiti and Rashtriya Shala, Rajkot, to develop Khadi in Gondal.
Hargovindbhai learnt how to produce khadi from Nashik, Maharashtra, and then he worked with Rashtriya Shala, Rajkot, before starting his organisation in Gondal. Hargovindbhai Patel was fondly called Mantri Ji by his employees.
Udyog Bharti was a pioneer in developing Ambar charkha by giving hand-spinning a new path for a commercial institute. Mr Hargovind was involved in the innovation and development of the Ambar charkha spinning units. Presently the institute is Managed by Mr Chandrakant Patel, son of Mr Hargovindbhai Patel.
Bharat Khadi Sewak Sangha, Murshidabad
Bharat Khadi Sevak Sangha was registered on 23rd March 1959 to organise a “SANGHA'' of Khadi Sevaks across the country under the Chairmanship of Late Kameswar Thakur, who was a veteran Khadi patron and a renowned personality in the field of Social Work in Bihar. Late Nrisingha Prasad Biswas, a veteran Khadi creator, freedom fighter and social worker, became the founder secretary of the institution. The institution started training the rural artisans for hand-spun and hand-woven clothing. Since then, landless labourers, farmers and other rural artisans have started earning their livelihood out of this self-help group. The Institution began its activities by taking three weavers to gather underprivileged village artisans under the institution's umbrella. The institution members realised the need for training for the Khadi workers to promote livelihood and the Khadi Industry. Presently the institution works with 336 women artisans and 347 men artisans focusing on employment and income generation. The institution's core objectives are to impart fine arts education to villagers and carry out education on silk fibres-related technology among the villagers. The prime areas of focus are to train the villagers in all branches of knowledge, especially in silk reeling and weaving by hand, and the women of the village about cotton and muslin spinning with the help of charkha and to train men about the weaving of cotton and muslin by hand.
Chandrakanta Lalit Mohan Resham Khadi Samity, Murshidabad
During the pre-independence British rule, indigenous industries suffered a significant setback. The Saha brothers, Chandrakanta and Lalitmohan Saha of Chak Islampur district, who were in the business of silk yarns and other textile traders, reached out to Gandhi Ji. They drew Gandhi ji's attention to the importance of the silk industry in the country's economy and insisted that he include silk into his ‘Khadi’ program. At first, Gandhiji was reluctant to have silk in Khadi because it was not free from violence, but after witnessing the production process, he agreed to include silk in Khadi in 1925. Cotton yarn spinning was also introduced in the village. The samity was founded on 19.07.1954 and obtained the Khadi Certificate in 1955. In 1966 when the Khadi and Village Industries Commission was established by the Special Act of the Govt. of India, this Samity was included under the fold of the KVIC. The organisation's objective is to serve the village as a whole and eradicate untouchability. Chandrakanta and Lalitmohan Resham Khadi Samity worked towards providing dignified, sustainable self–employment to the poor rural artisans through the expansion of the Khadi and Village Industry Programme and have raised the Socio- economic and morale levels of the rural artisans using self-employment through Khadi and Village Industries. The Samity's work expanded to providing literacy and health awareness programmes and works towards Vastra – Swavalamban (Clothing self- reliance).
Barkhetri Unnayan Samity, Nalbari
Barkhetri Unnayan Samiti was established in 1976 by U.C Medhi (Founder Secretary) and S.Medhi (Founder President), a registered society in Makalmua village in the Nalbari district of Assam. The institution was initially established to find livelihood solutions for the women in and around the towns of Makalmua. The name “Bar - Khatri '' means flood-affected field areas. This region is located at the banks of the Brahmaputra. Hence, nearly every year, the fields and villages of the communities there get flooded during the monsoons, making agricultural practice difficult. For this reason, most men migrate to near and far away places in search of work and livelihoods, leaving the women and children behind. This institution was set up to engage the women in home-based economic activities so that they could earn a basic living and not depend on money from the men. The knowledge of yarn hand spinning and hand weaving was traditionally present, and the organisation was built on it. In 1979-80, the Barkhetri Unnayan Samiti was registered with KVIC. Today it engages with nearly 620 hand-spinners, ten weavers working on the hand-jacquard loom, 90 weavers in Eri silk weaving, and ten weavers working with Muga silk across 21 villages in and around Makalmua.
Gram Swaraj Parishad, Rangia
Gram Swaraj Parishad (GSP) is a voluntary organisation from 1974 to 75. It was started as a destitute home with twenty orphans. In 1978, they got the Khadi Certification. They began working with Khadi and the village industry commission to give employment to rural underprivileged, especially the women in and around the Rangia area. Niranjan Kalita founded the institution, and now his son, Dibya Jyoti Kalita, manages the functions of the organisation as the secretary of the organisation. Gram Swaraj operates and works with communities across ten villages in the Kamrup district of Assam, where it is located. Presently the organisation is working with nearly 800 artisans in the region. The organisation has a governing body comprised of working and artisan community members. These members get together twice a year to monitor the overall functions of the institutions and take decisions on plans of action and grievances of the community members, if any.
The organisation has a managing committee of fourteen members, which includes two leading artisans and a KVIC representative. The main product is Eri silk textiles, mainly yardage, men’s shawls and stoles. They also work with MUGA SILK, which is woven into yardage and the region's traditional Mekhela-Chador (local wrap and stole ensemble).