If you don’t believe in a principle and don’t live that by example, you will not make a difference. The Khadi sector has suffered because of this kind of hollow attention in the past. But, since 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed it by living what he has professed. Khadi is now a symbol of national heritage and pride.
Societies use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their culture. Sample the word ‘Khadi’: It does not represent a mere piece of fabric. Instead, it is the chronological testimonial of India’s Freedom Struggle to the present phase of economic transformation.
The question arises whether a leader can change perception using symbols? If the impact of opinions given by Gandhiji to the present Prime Minister is any indication, the answer is a big ‘Yes’! Ever since Modi became PM, he has put all his efforts to give exposure to Khadi’s latent potential.
Leading from the front, he appealed for the adoption and promotion of Khadi in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ many times. Putting the famous punch-line ‘From Khadi for Nation, Khadi for Fashion and Khadi for Transformation’, in his Independence Day Address this year, he has categorically mentioned Khadi’s growth over the last four years.
Indeed, this has emerged as an amazing success story. While sales have doubled from Rs 1,170 crore (2014-15) to Rs 2,509 crore (2017-18), production has risen to Rs1,500 crore from Rs 880 crore. KVIC has distributed 32,000 Charkhas and 6,000 looms among artisans. Amidst false propaganda for not creating employment, KVIC has created 18,39,887 jobs from July 2014 till September 2018, and aims to create another 13,10,908 jobs between November 2018 and March 2020. The newly-introduced Modi Jackets and Modi Kurtas are also adding colour – especially for Gen-X. The flagship KVIC store at Connaught Place has hit 1-crore sales mark thrice in October and once in November.
In all, programmes of any nation and that too of rural relevance get an extra push in developing societies. But, it makes a difference when the person in apex power provides dedicated attention. In the post-independence era, no head of state has done as much as our PM did. Giving a paradigm shift to Khadi, he has worn it with style around the world. By being an ambassador of Khadi, he has represented poor artisans of India on the world stage. And with that, he has made all the difference – the Kha‘difference’.