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GIVE IT AN INDIAN SPIN

Across between a coffee table book and a catalogue, KHADI: THE FABRIC OF FREEDOM (Roli, Rs 595) comes on the occasion of an exhibition, on the Mahatma’s favoured textile, which is currently touring the country. There are essays on khadi’s continued spiritual and economic relevance, its importance in Gandhian philosophy and even a potted manual on khadi production — everything from cottonpicking to the many ways to spin and weave the yarn. But the pick of the lot is a photo-essay by Manuel Bauer/ Lookat. In stark black and white, the pictures of villagers in Andhra Pradesh enact Gandhi’s belief in khadi being integral to the Indian way of life. They are the visual articulation of the kind of romantic view, articulated in Asha Sarabhai’s essay and very fashionable nowadays, of khadi affording the comfort of being “you as you are, an I as I am — swaddled in comfort, protected with a light touch, not encased in alien armour”.

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