Khadi back in vogue as polls close in

March 29th, 2009 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) It’s the quintessential garb of an Indian politician - the white khadi dress. And with the world’s largest democracy going to the polls next month, this handspun cloth popularised by Mahatma Gandhi is again becoming the flavour of the season.
Khadi is back in vogue, as shops stocking it are discovering.

“We are currently witnessing a 33 percent increase in the sale of khadi, especially white ‘kurta-pyjamas’ that have seen the maximum sales. The main reason is the elections and also the 30 percent discount that we have offered,” Ajay Kumar Sharma, assistant director of Khadi Gram Udyog, told IANS.

“Our main showroom near Regal Cinema sees a lot of VIPs, legislators and MPs coming to shop for khadi.

The state-run Khadi Gram Udyog has had famous clients in the past like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Queen Elizabeth and more recently Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Suresh Gupta, manager at a khadi store in the capital’s Khan Market area, said: “This is a posh location and very close to a lot of VIP areas. This makes it a convenient stop for khadi buyers.

“Lately, politicians who are contesting elections and also their supporters come to our store. We have recorded an increase of more than 25 percent in khadi sales,” Gupta told IANS.

According to Pramod Malik, sales executive of Khadiline, another store selling khadi clothes, people prefer readymades because they are ready to use and save time.

He says besides elections, the best time for khadi sales is in October at the time of Gandhi Jayanti, the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi.

“During that time, there are huge rebates on the cloth and 90 percent people know about the discounts and therefore throng the stores. That is usually the best time for sales,” added Malik.

The material is also cheap. Cotton khadi cloth is available in stores for anything between Rs.50 and Rs.600 per metre.

While the general public is more inclined towards coloured and printed khadi, people from politics generally go for whites and beige.

Designer Nida Mahmood says, “Khadi is liked by all and worn throughout the year, but during elections its visibility is a little bit more.

“Khadi is a chic fabric and very comfortable and that’s the reason why it appeals to people so much. Politicians usually wear it while campaigning because it is an Indian fabric and also very comfortable.”

Khadi is also catching up as a fashion trend with the young. Purnima Gureja, a 22-year-old advertising professional, swears by the fabric and believes it can look extremely stylish if used properly.

“I usually team a pair of jeans with coloured khadi kurtas and some silver jewellery. It’s comfortable, not very expensive and looks good.”

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