From the villages of India to the prêt collections of international designers, Malkha, a mix of malmal and khadi has travelled a long distance. Paying a tribute to this wonderful fabric, the National Archives of India is hosting a Khadi & Malkha exhibition from October 2 to 11 in the Capital.
India has had an interesting journey with cotton -- it has grown, spun, woven and worn cotton and clothed other nations in it for over 200 years now. The looms run on in the 21 century, with almost no industrial pollution and depredation of the earth’s resources.
“The Indian cotton textile industry has outlasted the industrial revolution’s challenge, and today provides an environmental, ecological alternative to energy-intensive mechanical production, providing employment to millions of people in the different processes of cloth production from the carding, spinning, warp laying, sizing of the warp, the weaver and the maker of tools for all these. Making cotton cloth entirely in rural areas links the small and marginal farmers of cotton to the cloth that is made from their harvest,” say the organisers of the exhibition.
Not to forget the patronage khadi received from M K Gandhi, who used it symbolically in the fight against the colonisers.
The interest in khadi has never faded in India and has even reached foreign shores. What makes khadi and malkha popular are its slubbed texture and draping qualities.