A hundred years ago Dec. 16, 1921 Archives

From the Archives (December 16, 1921): Wearing khaddar is no offence

The Superintendent of Police, Calcutta, is said to have instructed his subordinates that the wearing of Khaddar or ‘Gandhi’ cap should not be treated as an offence. This is a return to sanity which is the more surprising for its unexpected suddenness. The crusade against Khaddar was about the first wave in the policy of repression which is now in full surge and the campaign was conducted with much rigour in almost every part of the country. In Calcutta, especially the wearing of this particular cloth was an unpardonable sin for which all the varieties of police ill-treatment were considered small punishment. How Calcutta smarts under this hatred of Khaddar can be judged from the comments of the “Bengalee”, a very Moderate paper. It writes: “Is it an offence of the blackest dye to wear Khaddar? Our query is promoted by the fact that cases have come to our knowledge in which persons have been arrested, vulgarly abused and roughly handled for no other offence than that of wearing Khaddar clothes. We would like to know under what section of the Penal Code, the use of khaddar renders a man punishable. It is evident that khaddar is to some European sergeants or soldiers what the red rag is to the bull. Surely the Government ought not to encourage such bitter prejudice on the part of those charged with the responsible duty of maintaining law and order.”


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