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Theodore M. Brown

Theodore M. Brown is v the departments of background and Community and also Preventive Medicine, college of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Elizabeth fee is with the national Library that Medicine, national Institutes the Health, Bethesda, Md.

You are watching: Why did gandhi encourage indians to weave their own cloth?


Elizabeth Fee

Theodore M. Brown is through the department of background and Community and Preventive Medicine, university of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Elizabeth fee is v the nationwide Library of Medicine, nationwide Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.


Theodore M. Brown is through the departments of history and Community and also Preventive Medicine, university of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Elizabeth fee is v the nationwide Library that Medicine, nationwide Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

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Reprint requests need to be sent to Theodore M. Brown, PhD, background Department, college of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627 (e-mail: ude.retsehcor.cmru

THIS photo OF Mohandas K. Gandhi (October 2, 1869–January 30, 1948), dressed just in a loincloth and working at his turn wheel top top the deck the the SS Rajputana, was taken in 1931 as Gandhi traveled to London to attend a high-level roundtable conference v British officials.1 Gandhi to be leader that the Indian national Congress and the significant force in its drive for independence. He had already led effective non-violent polite disobedience and also tax resistance campaigns against British rule, finishing in the 250-mile “Salt March” indigenous Ahmedabad to the Indian ocean at Dandi (March 12–April 6, 1930).2 After violent assaulting the marchers, the brother imprisoned Gandhi and 60000 supporters. Due to the fact that of adverse worldwide publicity, the British at some point released Gandhi and also in march 1931 negotiated an agreement with him because that the release of the continuing to be political detainees in exchange because that the suspension of civil disobedience. The British invited Gandhi come London in so late 1931, supposedly to discuss the deliver of power. The conference disappointed Gandhi but listed him with methods to win famous support. In 1930, he had already been asserted Time’s “Man that the Year”; in 1931, he won over together leading numbers in London as George bernard Shaw, Maria Montessori, and Charlie Chaplin. His every move was followed closely by the press, and after one audience in ~ Buckingham Palace, he was asked if he had felt underdressed. His commonly reported comment, expressed with typical Gandhian wit, was, “The king had on sufficient for both of us.”3(p258)

Gandhi’s manner of dress and commitment come hand spinning to be essential facets of his philosophy and politics. He decided the classic loincloth together a denial of Western society and a symbolic identification with the bad of India. His personal choice ended up being a an effective political gesture as he urged his much more privileged pendant to copy his example and also discard—or even burn—their European-style clothing and also return with pride to your ancient, precolonial culture.4 Gandhi asserted that spinning thread in the traditional manner additionally had product advantages, together it would develop the basis for financial independence and the opportunity of survive for India’s impoverished countryside multitudes.5 This commitment to timeless cloth making was also component of a larger swadeshi movement, i beg your pardon aimed because that the boycott of every British goods. As Gandhi explained to Charlie Chaplin in 1931, the go back to spinning did not mean a refusal of all modern technology but of the exploitive and also controlling economic and political mechanism in i beg your pardon textile to produce had end up being entangled. Gandhi said, “Machinery in the past has made united state dependent top top England, and also the only way we deserve to rid ourself of the dependence is come boycott all goods made by machinery. This is why we have actually made it the patriotic duty of every Indian come spin his own cotton and also weave his own cloth.”6(p48)

The photo of the emaciated, almost naked, and obviously nonviolent Gandhi hard at work-related at his rotate wheel had actually an electric impact on millions in India and throughout the world. He to be hailed together the dad of Indian independence, and beginning in 1931, his timeless spinning wheel came to be the main symbol on the flag the the Provisional federal government of cost-free India.