Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
MILL-CLOTH v. KHADI
The Congress resolutions on khadi are unequivocal. For those therefore who wish to respect them there is no course open but to avoid the use of cloth manufactured in our mills. But in these days of growing anarchy, it is idle to quote Congress resolutions either to support or to oppose particular conduct on the part of Congressmen. Let us therefore re-examine the question of Congressmen optionally using indigenous mill-cloth in the place of foreign cloth, or hawking such mill-cloth. We know the experience of Bengal. The swadeshi movement of Bengal during the partition days suffered a check because of the greed and dishonesty of mill-owners. They inflated prices and even sold foreign cloth in the name of swadeshi. There is no warrant for the belief that they would behave better on this occasion. Indeed the facts about spurious khadi that I have brought to light show that the mills will not be slow to exploit the swadeshi spirit for their own benefit as opposed to the larger benefit of the consumer. But even if the mills were to play the game, Congressmen will not need to use mill-cloth or to advertise it.
The mills playing the game means their advertising and selling khadi, their assimilation of the khadi, spirit, their recognition of the predominance of khadi over mill-cloth. It must be definitely realized that mills alone, even if they wished, cannot in our generation displace foreign cloth. Therefore there be in the country an agency that would devote its attention, so far as boycott of foreign cloth is concerned, exclusively to khadi propaganda. That agency has been the Congress since 1920. Khadi production and khadi propaganda act at once as a check upon the greed of mills and also, strange as it may appear, as an indirect but very effective encouragement to mills in their struggle against foreign competition. Exclusive devotion to khadi on the part of Congressmen enables khadi to find a foothold and enables mills effectively to carry on their operations where the Congress has as yet no influence worth the name.
Hence it is that the mills have never resented the khadi propaganda. On the contrary many of their agents have assured me that they have benefited by the khadi propaganda inasmuch as it has created an anti-foreign-cloth atmosphere enabling them to sell their comparatively coarser-count cloth. Stop exclusive khadi propaganda, play with mill-cloth and you kill khadi and in the long run you kill even mill-cloth, for it cannot by itself stand foreign competition. In a competition between indigenous and foreign mills the one disturbing factor of healthy mass sentiment will be wholly wanting, if there was no khadi spirit. Last but not least the inestimable value of khadi consists in its capacity for tremendous mass education, mass uplift and substantial relief of growing starvation. Whereas mill-cloth affords no work and no financial help to the masses, every yard of khadi means so much work and money to the masses that are being doubly ruined for want of work and wages. Therefore for every patriotic lover of the country there is no escape from exclusive use of and propaganda of khadi.