Commemorating Gandhi's fight against apartheid
The External Affair's Minister Sushma Swaraj recently undertook a train journey from Pentrich to Pietermaritzburg - a railway station in South Africa where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a 1st class "Whites-only" compartment, around 125 years ago.
Hundreds of metres of Khadi – the hand spun and hand woven signature fabric of India synonymous with Mahatma Gandhi – adorned all the compartments and engine of that train in the commemoration of the peace icon's expulsion.
Following this, Swaraj unveiled the bust by spinning a 'charkha' there, which symbolises the production of khadi that was a part of the Civil Disobedient movement. She also inaugurated a two-sided bust of Gandhiji, known as the 'Birth of Satyagraha'. "These busts will act as a constant reminder to all of mankind of the momentous moral journey that young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi undertook," she said.
Khadi and villages industries commission (KVIC) has gifted the entire fabric to the Indian high commissioner for this occasion. Ruchira Kamboj, Indian high commissioner said that Khadi' which became Gandhi's symbol of resistance against colonial rule and a fashion symbol in India' truly represents Gandhi.
Meanwhile, KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said that it was a pride for Khadi that it was showcased in such a historic event. "If Khadi reaching South Africa means anything, we are moving in the direction of economic freedom now. Khadi is all set to bring economic freedom as the
'national fabric' has echoed its piousness and economic feasibility in the land of Madiba," he said.
It may be noted that earlier in March, the High Commissioner for India in Pretoria Ruchira Kamboj, had requested KVIC Chairman, to provide different Khadi fabric, including silk and muslin – in both embroidered and printed forms, for a fashion show by designer Gavin Rajah.
Acting quickly on High Commissioner's request, the KVIC immediately dispatched more than the double length of the desired fabric, which was delivered to them on March 24.
The show, which was choreographed by the most eminent figure in the fashion landscape and a household name in South-Africa, Gavin Rajah, was held on May 30 in the presence of Suresh Prabhu.