June 23, 2017

Khadi: From Sages to Ages

Right from the time our PM Shri Modi has urged the nation to buy KHADI products, a lot is achieved. There is an increase of 33% in sales in last financial year. In rupee value it is 2005 crore. Over all for the first time INR 50,000 crore worth of sales is crossed. While this is just the start and actual potential is much bigger we also need to plan and shift the focus on India 30 years hence.

The sales should not be an outcome of push. It should be an outcome of pull. Once this level is achieved by a Brand then all we have to do is maintain the quality, perfect inventory, invest in R & D, create dependable order book from export orders, etc. Trust the government is already doing this. Now is the time to focus on the future. How do we see young India in 2050 (age group 15 to 25)?

We should plan now. Chinese made products serve the basic needs of Indians. Be it kite festival or Diwali. We have seen it all. Apart from this china made goods are still widely used in manufacturing industry. This is where the problem is. Having identified this potential problem area we need to start working on creating an environment that educates the young students about KHADI. And this can’t happen through books alone. They serve the purpose for limited duration and scope and then it purely depends on the aptitude of individual students and teachers.

Having understood this, we have planned a pilot project to be taken up with the help of the state and central government.

We take pride in saying we are agricultural based country but we have done little to motivate the school children to know about agriculture. Each state can pick up their main agricultural product and implement a pilot project. For Maharashtra where plenty of cotton growing farmers have gone through serious hardships we need to work on Cotton and KHADI.

It is there for over 5000 years and we need to put in out efforts to ensure it goes beyond this. It is easy to mould young minds in nation building. Instead of just a small paragraph on cotton we need to engage the children in making of KHADI yarn making as part of the curriculum.

Starting from standard II we need to make yarn making part of the syllabus. There should be sufficient charkha in all schools of an identified district ( we have identified Yavatmal as the district for the pilot project).

Let’s approach this hypothetically, Each student will have to make minimum one kg yarn in an academic year. Once this is achieved, the yarn would be sold to local government body. The student can decide whether to donate or keep the money with him / her. KVIC is ideal to get involved with students at early stage. The reason being there are so many schemes they have. Each targeted to address a need of the citizens. This would help students to understand socio economic requirement of the society. We often complain there some citizens who don’t understand pain of poor people. Unless we don’t engage the students with reality and solutions available with government education is incomplete. This has to be practical approach and reduce burden on government.

There would be a land also where the students would be taken to sow the seeds. Fortnightly visit of students would be carried out to show progress of seed to the students. Now this is the most important aspect of the learning process. Anything can happen to farming (sufficient rains, insufficient rains, excess rains, hail storm at last minute, etc.) The child would see all this happening. It may bring cheer to them if the crop is good or may be the opposite.

Whatever is the outcome this process is repeated year on year. There might be functional issues with the charka. So they would see some kind of maintenance / repairing.

At the end of it what is the exposure for the child. He / she learns a skill, farming, economics, weather conditions, labor who work on farms, technician who repair and maintain the charkhas, etc. Imagine the knowledge of child by the time he/she finishes schooling.

Today when we read about farmer suicide, floods, hail storm, etc we treat them as news. How many of us actually understand the pain and suffering of the affected? This process shall make them understand more about process involved. They will stop wasting food. They shall develop interest in farming. They will explore more in agriculture. The interest in agriculture shall compliment the efforts of the government. And this will lead to more agriculture college and universities.

So what does it leads to? It leads to Skill Development, Self Esteem, financial independence, reduce drop out rates in schools, learning becomes fun,education leads to vocation, Quality consciousness, understanding supply chain management, enhanced yarn production and last but not the least China will have less interest in KHADI.

What is the result? Students who spend few years with their teachers learning few subjects, remember them for entire life. Imagine some of their precious years are invested to understand KHADI. Imagine the bonding with KHADI, farmers, fields, people associated with it and of course respect for our motherland.

Picture Credit: India Today


Author: Swati Ojha is Managing Trustee of 1 Ka Dum Foundation ( www.1kadum.com Twitter @1_Ka_Dum )

Twitter: @Dignified_SociT 


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