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Freedom Homespun -- National Independence and Textile Production in India

Title:Freedom Homespun -- National Independence and Textile Production in India
Author:Bean, Susan S.
Publication:Asian Art & Culture
Enumeration:vol. 9, p. 52-67, (Spring/Summer 1996)
Abstract:The writer discusses the significance of spinning for the program for national independence in India. Textile manufacture had been the principal industry in India; silk, cotton, and woolen fabrics had been exported worldwide. British rule and Western industrialization resulted in India becoming, conversely, an importer of cloth and an exporter of raw cotton and silk fiber. Ghandi, who believed that the decline in textile manufacture was a main cause of poverty and subjugation in India, saw spinning as central to the alleviation of poverty, the achievement of self-sufficiency and independence, the creation of national unity, and the nurture of spiritual strength for India's political and moral battle. Under Ghandi's leadership, the Indian National Congress decided to boycott foreign textiles, to require its members to spin cotton and wear homespun cloth, and to adopt a flag that incorporated the spinning wheel. Although spinning as a way of achieving self-discipline and spiritual enlightenment did not survive, spinning and homespun cloth are monuments to Ghandi and the nationalist movement.

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