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The tradition called khadi

The spirit of khadi is celebrated at the Khadi Expo



ENTICING FARE: Silk sarees at the expo.

A NEW image for khadi seems long overdue. If big-time designers like Ritu Kumar, Raghavendra Rathore and Sandeep Khosla are looking at making fashion statements with it, the Khadi Boards that oversee its everyday life are looking at awareness campaigns to popularise the fabric with a hoary past.

One such initiative is the ongoing Khadi Expo organised by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) at the V.O.C. Park grounds till December 24.

As you enter the venue, a sense of déjà vu is inevitable. What you find is an array of stalls stocking readymade khadi shirts, vibrant silk sarees, silk dhotis and chic bags. The Bharatiya Khadi Gramodyog Sangh stall offers Khadi silk sarees with silk zari, starting from Rs. 1,000.

Variety in khadi

"Khadi fabric is hand-spun and hand-woven by traditional artisans. Slight variations in colour and texture are characteristic of Khadi, but what sets it apart is the quality. For the silk sarees, we have sourced the zari from Surat and Padiyur," says an artisan at the stall. Another speciality available here is a multi-purpose bedspread that comes for Rs. 308.

"More than 70 participants, comprising Khadi Gramodyog Sanghs and Bhavans and the Rural Employment Generation (REG) units promoted by KVIC under its Entrepreneurship Development Programme, have displayed their products," says R. Govindarajan, Assistant Development Officer, KVIC, Coimbatore.

The stall put up by the Aavarampalayam Sarvodaya Sangh showcases readymade khadi shirts, available in a variety of colours, and priced between Rs. 150 and Rs. 200.



An artisan demonstrates silk weaving. Pics: K. Ananthan.

At the Sri Ganesha Cottage Industries stall, a REG unit from Mahabalipuram, choose from stone carvings, jewel boxes, pen and candle stands. Many stalls stock Kashmir honey, squares of karupatti, and handmade paper files. The Erode Sarvodaya Sangh stall sells churidhar materials, sarees and nighties.

Handicraft items, ceramics, vermicompost, herbal tooth powders, detergents and incense sticks are also on display at the expo. Dry fruits and ginger soaked in honey are available at the Chennai Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan stall.

"Jacquard bedspreads priced at Rs. 160 and cotton towels, pillow covers and cushions are fast moving," says R. Satyamoorthy of Karur Sarvodaya Sangh. Khadi bags, footwear, table linen and readymade curtains are also available in this stall.

In sarees, you can choose from printed silk sarees in the price range of Rs. 1,400 - Rs. 3,000, Arani and Thanjavur silk sarees. Some stalls also offer Siddha products. KVIC has also organised a live demo of silk weaving at the expo.

K. JESHI

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