LIFE

Forging ahead with Khadi

Desi hues.

Desi hues.  

KHADI IS itself a message and a medium.

Since the days of the freedom struggle, it has been identified as the symbol of national pride and honour. Though khadi has not succeeded in capturing the fancy of the post-Independence generation, the spirit ignited by Mahatma still burns bright in the country, albeit with reduced vigour.

When one uses khadi clothes and other products marketed by khadi industries, one is supporting the spirit of freedom and nationality. The clothes also help in achieving the goal of a self-reliant India and self-sufficient villages as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi.

An array of products that come with this message are on display at Ernakulathappan ground in Kochi, where Khadi Utsav 03 - the zonal-level Khadi Village Industries exhibition - is on. The exhibition, jointly organised by the Kerala Khadi Village Industries Board and the Khadi Village Industries Commission, features some successful firms which boast an annual turnover that runs into crores of rupees, which is uncommon in this sector.

A unit marketing a popular brand of cleaning liquid, which is also participating in the show, recorded a turnover of Rs. 4 crores last year, while a curry powder unit did business to the tune of Rs. 1.5 crores. Yet another firm has come to the show with a novel product, `cherry honey', sweet cherry processed in honey. The Nadapuram-based firm employs nearly 50 women in its unit.

Another unit that manufactures cane furniture also has a success story to tell with export orders to its credit. The Khadi officials remember that the association with the cane furniture manufacturing unit goes back more than 25 years.

Khadi units from Orissa, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Manipur, sarvodaya groups from different parts of the country, ANERT, the State Forest Department, State Women's Development Corporation, etc., are participating in the show.

A nearly six-feet-tall grandfather clock, priced at Rs. 16,000, is one of the main attractions of the show. Hand-woven and hand-spun clothes and dress materials are available aplenty at the show and one of the stalls set up by the Khadi Commission has silk sarees in the Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000 price range.

Khadi silk shirt material priced at Rs. 210 per metre is also in great demand. The profit from the exhibition will be utilised for promoting schemes beneficial to weavers and spinners, said P. Ajayakumar, project officer, State Khadi Board.

The khadi units in the State provide direct employment to nearly 5,000 people. The exhibition will end on January 15.

By K.S. Sudhi

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