The Khadi Journey Of Pearl

AMBIKA MAGOTRA & ANITA BORA

“The women of India should have as much share in winning Swaraj as men. Probably in this peaceful struggle woman can outdistance man by many a mile.” This statement of Gandhi clearly indicates the role that the Indian women were going to play during the Freedom Movement.

Photographs by/ Pearl Academy
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Gandhi recognized from the start that women had a positive role to play in the reconstruction of society. He stressed that the women's right of equality was imperative in order to bring about social justice. Bapu, mobilized women to resort to satyagraha against all undesirable and unworthy restraints.

The women's movement in India was an integral part of the nationalist politics of Mahatma Gandhi. Nationalism had stimulated change, intellectual activity and involved women in roles that were new and diverse. The movement was not merely a political struggle, but a means of regenerating and rejuvenating society. He encouraged women to participate in all aspects and phases in national activity, particularly in the constructive programme and the non-violent satyagraha, initiated by him. Gandhi believed that a woman's nature was particularly suited to non-violent satyagraha, for it required not physical strength, but moral courage and spiritual determination.

Khadi, the ever-present fabric of the country became part of the independence struggle because of the way it was popularised by Gandhi. The vocabulary that the leader used was that of denoting the fabric as an entire way of life, a way of life that could symbolise the unity of the vast nation. that could   provide work to the semi-employed women of India and unite our country.

Gandhi successfully mobilized women to promote the use of khadi. Saraladevi Chaudharani worked actively to popularize the idea in Punjab. She “became a trend setter by going even to parties in her khadi sari. She toured many parts of North India enlisting support for khadi.” Manibehn Patel, the daughter of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, organized the women of Gujarat under the banner of swadeshi. She was encouraged and supported in her work by Gandhi. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur organized a 'Spinner's Association’ in Punjab and extensively promoted the use of khadi.  Basanti Devi and Urmila Das, the wife and sister of C. R. Das, sold khadi in Calcutta. Their arrest by the police had given them an added strength and an increasing number of women enlisted themselves as volunteers

Gandhi's relentless propaganda in favour of charkha spinning and wearing of khadi was designed to bring the spirit of nationalism and freedom into every home, even in the remotest village.”

Charkha artisans and students of Pearl Academy helping and encouraging visitors to engage in the process of spinning yarn.

Charkha artisans and students of Pearl Academy helping and encouraging visitors to engage in the process of spinning yarn.

The real liberation or emancipation of Indian women could be traced to this period. To opt for Khadi, therefore, was to emphasise one's being over appearance, substance over form, and 'character over clothing.' One of the greatest qualities of Khadi that made it so popular was its existence as a social equalizer. Though it was meant for the masses and could be worn by the poor, it also caught the eye of the sophisticated, thus bringing all under one canopy.

Ben Dunlap, in his Ted Talk portrayed Mahatma Gandhi of having a combination of shrewdness of a lawyer and idealism of a saint. Gandhian philosophy holds its relevance even after a century. He envisioned our country to be a republic of villages which should be self-sufficient and self –regulated. He advocated use of labor-saving machines, Khadi production on large scale, and egalitarian social-economic and political structure of the country. He had a great influence of his mother on his personality. London was the place for his political awakening and the promises made to his mother that he would keep himself away from women, wine and meat gave him strength to sustain his philosophies. He always insisted on gender equality. He recognized the importance of women participation in the success of any endeavor and encouraged women to participate in Satyagraha. He sought support from women in Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience and Quit India movement. Khadi was his tool and language for getting freedom for the country.

Installation on commemorating 15th Birth Anniversary of the Gandhi Jayanti

Installation on commemorating 15th Birth Anniversary of the Gandhi Jayanti

Khadi X Pearl

In its campuses in Mumbai, Jaipur, Noida and Delhi, Pearl Academy has been conducting various workshops that inculcate the Gandhian values of inclusivity and sustainability within the students and the educators of the academy. Since 2017 Pearl Academy has pioneered events with Khadi.


Nidhi Mantri, a UGFD student designed a range of garments for KVIC (Khadi Village Industries Commission) Mumbai, to commemorate Gandhi Jayanti 2017. Our faculty Jewellyn Alvares also collaborated with KVIC in 2018 with his collection “Converge” at the Lakme Fashion Week Festive/Winter 2018 in Mumbai.

In the same year our students attended a talk with Mr. Rajiv Sethi at the Asian Heritage Foundation where they interacted with Ms. Sukanya Bharat on the concept of Khadi.


In 2019 The relationship with Khadi and Pearl Academy has only strengthened. Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated by Pearl Academy Jaipur with an installation made of Khadi fabric at Tapri, the Tea house, Hotel Jaipur Marriott. Students in Mumbai too participated in the “Khadi Instyle” Project, where they produced fabric swatches in khadi with textures/ embroideries etc.

To commemorate 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi “Khadi Goes Globlal” moving towards Global Sustainable Development Goals for the future of Mankind” “What’s Next in Khadi” has been organized by the School of Fashion in collaboration with Ministry of MSME, FICCI on  21st February, 2019. There were eminent speakers’ session on the genesis of khadi, it’s usage and as a tool for achieving sustainability development goals followed by the following activities at the Craft Museum. Fashion Show by our alumni Sumiran Sharma, Hanisha Bansal, Teressa and Utsav showcased their collection on Khadi at the show. The project was worked upon by our faculty Ambika Magotra, Darshan Chandekar, Saroj Bala, Sakshi Babbar, Radhika Jain, Nupur Sharma, Pooja Malhotra, Sharda Nautiyal, Pooja Malhotra, Devika S. Pathak, Nandini Lal, Ashish Dhaka, Wajahat Rather and Sonika Khar.

Jewellyn Alvares with KVIC for his collection “Converge” at the Lakme Fashion Week Festive/Winter 2018, Mumbai

Jewellyn Alvares with KVIC for his collection “Converge” at the Lakme Fashion Week Festive/Winter 2018, Mumbai

The show also included installations by Gaurav Singh. This collection will be in New York in March 2020.

To commemorate 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, the team organized a session, “KHADI: Narrative Towards a Sustainable Future”. Speakers were Mr. Siddharth Lulla of Intelcap and Ms. Preeti Raja of Revival Project. For the same event our final year Fashion Design students presented their Indian Wear garments made of Khadi in a fashion show.

Pearl Academy also collaborated with Select City Walk, to turn the tide of waste fullness and mindless consumption. It is a call to satyagraha against single use plastic by engaging the senses in the act of creation. Along with an interactive installation of charkhas, a fashion show “Ethical Eco Collective” by Alumni Designers; Astha Sethi, Sumiran Kabir Sharma,Teresa & Utsav, Pallavi Dhyani, Urvi Soni, Saumya Jain, Timsy Kamboj, Jyoti Jain and styling and creation by Fashion Stylists; Tanya Garg and Drishti Gupta  integrated the ideas of Khadi in the new world alongside a call to action against Single Use Plastic . The process of making will lead to the desire for preserving and bring us all one step closer to living in the present, mindfully.

 Our fashion design students along with faculty members Sumit Priyadarshi & Novreen Manzoor, created an installation at the Charkha museum in Connaught Place for Gandhi Jayanti, 2019. In Jaipur too, a panel discussion on Gandhi Jayanti was organized for the students in the campus. The panel included Sonal Chittranshi, Puja Arya, Ganesh Gulve and Sashi Kiran.

Shift Roshini R