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KHADI IS A PHILOSOPHY. It weaves together the stories and the destiny of the farmer and the many people involved in the seven subsequent production stages (ginning/cleaning, carding/slivers, warping, weaving, dyeing, and printing). Khadi generates community-based livelihood and strengthens the village economy. It is a wonder fabric with less twist and softer weave (more air cavities, more porous) that is uniquely thermally efficient.
Mahatma Gandhi urged the adoption of khadi as a means to economic freedom. Modern day sustainable production practices, low carbon footprint urging, and the importance of reducing the use of chemicals in everyday life, find new resonance in the production of organic khadi.
MAGAN KHADI IS PURE ORGANIC KHADI FROM FARM TO FABRIC
Built on Gandhian vision, and with a strong legacy connect to his personal involvement, this is an enterprise that is uniquely progressive in its holistic approach to community development, combining traditional skills from across regions, current scientific advances, design expertise, and a pulse of changing fashion trends of individual and commercial customers.
AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PAST IS IMPORTANT TO REALISE FUTURE ASPIRATIONS
In 1936, Gandhi moved to Sevagram, then a village near Wardha. This is where he set up his base. (Today, the ashram in Sevagram attracts visitors from around the world who walk in quite awe through a campus with humble cottages that were once occupied by people who shaped the destiny of the country. Prayers are conducted at specific times through the day).
In 1938 Gandhi inaugurated the Magan Sangrahalaya (museum), dedicated to rural enterprise. Arguably, this is the only facility he conceptualised himself, and got to see in its early operational days. The governing body today works with over 400 self-help groups providing training and skills development, sharing new production techniques, nurturing local handicrafts and artisan communities, and spreading the reach of khadi, from farm to fabric. Chairperson, Dr. Gupta Vibha leads the diverse projects of a resurgent Magan Sangrahalaya Samiti’s rural enterprise that ensures livelihoods in the region through skill development. 80% of sale proceeds from a wide variety of products from khadi fabric and finished garments, to personal products and staples, toys, food products and more, are ploughed back into the betterment of the lives of all those involved in their production.
Magan Khadi shares a symbiotic relationship with the Magan Sangrahalaya Samiti’s rural enterprise khadi projects. The focused Magan Khadi enterprise and brand will help build on considerable current achievements and scale growth plans to further community development objectives.
FROM 16T TO 37T OF 100% ORGANIC COTTON BACKED WITH PROCESS STAGE INTERVENTIONS
In 2016, Magan Khadi procured 16 T of raw organic cotton from 25 farmers of Samudrapur, Seloo block, Wardha, and Arvi block of Wardha District.
The Khadi unit works with two Organic Farmers Training Centres – Chetna-Vikas (Alodi village) and Magan Sangrahalaya Samiti (Samudrapur, Girad village). Training is provided in – land preparation; mulching ; irrigation; sowing; multiple cropping; nutrient mix; pest control ; organic farming norms.
A 12-member team monitors the organic farms, keeps records, maintains an organic seeds bank, supplies organic farm inputs, assists in marketing farm produce, and conducts farmer training.
With Samriddhi Project intervention the annual production target is 37T of organic raw cotton. Earlier, the carding/sliver/roving process stages were outsourced. Owned ginning and roving machines will now be installed at a nodal centre near the organic farms for increased efficiency and less wastage. Soft baling machines will be used to prevent damage to micro cotton fibres. Spinning units will continue to operate in clusters (20 in Karla ; 35 solar spinning units in Seloo ; and 25 solar spinning units in the Magan campus in Wardha). The warping process which was earlier left to the weavers will be done in-house to ensure no mixing of non-organic yarn, which is essential to maintaining the integrity of the 100% organic Magan Khadi proposition.
The number of farmers involved in organic cotton cultivation will increase from 25 to 60. Current production capacity will increase three-fold. Direct employment through process stages will increase from 173 to 261. And Magan Khadi will now be able to take up orders that had to be declined earlier due to capacity constraints.
8 stages from farm to fabric
1. Raw cotton
1. Leaf Block (God’s Block) – Fresh leaf is used as block. Leaves from the Magan campus
2. Kacim Line – Lines are drawn on loosely stretched fabric with help of a coconut fibre or straw brush
3. Block Prints – Library of 800 blocks. Big demand for Warli design (8 blocks)
4. Eco Prints – Dry flowers, leaves, roots and bark are placed on the fabric and the fabric is rolled and steamed.
5. Eco Spray – Fabric is crumpled and colour sprayed
ALL NATURAL DYES
Natural dyes extracted from seeds, roots, leaves, vegetables, fruit, flowers, herbs and barks create the entire pantone range of colours. The often edible and known for medicinal properties in traditional medicine, natural ingredients produce the most vivid shades and delicate pastels in the hands of Magan Khadi experts working with well researched and documented organic dyeing processes.
The delicate Blushing Stripes stole collection with colours from natural dyes
Extract from natural dyes ingredients / colours table in the Magan Khadi library
2. Fabric (colour woven ; grey)
3. Print on fabric
4. Readymade products (Stoles ; Sarees ; Jackets ; Shirts ; T shirts ; Laptop sleeves ; Tote bags ; Bed sheets ; Bed spreads ; Pillows covers ; Cushion covers
In addition to retail customers, Magan Khadi also caters to the needs of institutional buyers including reputed brands like Aditya Birla, Good Earth and Navdanya (finished fabric with custom design printing and stoles) and national khadi institutions.
Magan Khadi is not merely about designing exquisite fabrics and prints in khadi. We can play a very significant role in improving the well-being of so many rural communities across India. Organic khadi has implications on the health and prosperity of our farmers, weavers, and all those involved in production. Organic means no chemicals through the process stages – from farm to fabric. Very few people understand this implication of this and the reality of what Magan Khadi is doing. After decades in this field and with all our pioneering work, we’re still at the beginning. With the support of the Samriddhi Project, I am looking at interventions across process stages to realise our true potential.
Spinning unit in Seloo
Popular Warli prints from Warli tribe (Dahanu, Thane dist.) of Maharashtra. 28 design patterns in 20 colours.
‘Booti’ and ‘Jaal’ prints with individual blocks. 800 block designs. Fabric printing on 35 count ST 42
Project lead :
Dr. Vibha Gupta
Dr. Vibha Gupta leads the Magan Khadi Organic initiative. She is the Chairperson of Magan Sanrahalaya Samiti (MSS). She worked with her father Dr. Devendra Kumar, in founding the Centre of Science for Villages in 1978. Qualified as an economist, and with a PhD from IIT, Delhi on Transfer of Technology Amongst Rural Women, and post doctoral degrees in Social Science in Canada and the Netherlands, Vibha leads skill development and entrepreneurship programmes for rural women extending across 100 villages, 600 self help groups and 34 new running enterprises.