Clothing Gandhi's Nation
Homespun and Modern India
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Indiana University Press
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For any project there are many beginnings. I would like to think that this project began in college, when my advisor urged me to travel in India with an uncle who is a former freedom fighter and labor leader turned social worker. That advice dramatically changed my future. History, which I had always enjoyed, came alive; its implications took on new, deeper meaning. ...
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This is a book about an ordinary object and its transformation into a national symbol in modern India. Khadi, or home-spun, home-woven cloth, had been produced and worn in India’s villages long before the twentieth century. At the outset of the period of mass nationalist politics in the early twentieth century, however, khadi acquired new significance as a fabric of not only ...
1. A POLITICS OF CONSUMPTIONS: Swadeshi and Its Institutions
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In the weeks and months after the Indian National Congress passed the Non- Cooperation Resolution on December 30, 1920, Mohandas Gandhi spoke and wrote passionately about the vital connections between an indigenous goods movement, known as swadeshi, and the attainment of swaraj, or self-government.2 ...
2. TECHNOLOGIES OF NATIONHOOD: Visually Mapping the Nation
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Proponents of the swadeshi movement organized khadi exhibitions to do more than demonstrate cloth production and sell khadi goods. on the occasion of one such exhibition in 1926, Gandhi explained their purpose, writing that they were ...
3. THE NATION CLOTHED: Making an “Indian” Body
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Writing for Young India in the years following the transfer of khadi’s future from the Congress’s Khaddar Board to the All-India Spinner’s Association, Gandhi pointed to the fact that being Indian was no natural matter. Becoming a nation entailed joining disparate groups, linking rich and poor, classes and masses, men and women. ...
4. RITUALS OF TIME: The Flag and the Nationalist Calendar
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A mile long procession wended its way through crowded city streets to swell the gatherings at Azad Maidan [a large open space]. ...
5. INHABITING NATIONAL SPACE: Khadi in Public
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By marking and filling public spaces with khadi, nationalists and ordinary Indians, less focused on India’s identity, expressed both their political aspirations and laid claim to the territory of their community. With the popularization of the Gandhi topi and the khadi charka flag, it became possible literally to see and imagine the Indian nation in new ways. ...
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In May 1996, the newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party toyed with the idea of ending state subsidies for khadi, which had been guaranteed for nearly fifty years. After news was leaked to the press, the proposal met immediate and significant public opposition; protesters converged upon the parliamentary buildings in New Delhi to vent their anger and marched through one of the capitol’s major thoroughfares, ...
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 30 b&w photos, 2 maps
Publication Year: 2007