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91-year-old Heritage Bandanavalu Khadi institution revived in Karnataka

It was KVIC Member G. Chandramouli, who took cognisance of this Khadi institution, started in 1926 by four Dalit women of this area, acting upon the call given by Mahatma Gandhi to adopt Khadi as a vehicle for self-reliance.

By PPFI Team

Febuary 26, 2018

It was a dream coming true for the artisans of as many as 14 sleepy hamlets in the Mysuru region on Sunday, when Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena dedicated 91-year-old Khadi institution of Badanavalu again to the nation, which was closed following some caste violence in 1993.

It was the KVIC Member (South Zone) G. Chandramouli, who took cognisance of this Khadi institution, started in 1926 by four Dalit women of this area, acting upon the call given by Mahatma Gandhi to adopt Khadi as a vehicle for self-reliance. Incidentally, the determination of those Dalit women caught the attention of Gandhiji and he visited and stayed the centre in 1927.

Spread in 7.5 acres, the campus was a good source of employment for around 700 families inhabiting in dozens of villages in and around Bandanavalu till 1993, when in a fateful caste clash destroyed the social fabric of the area and the centre stopped functioning. However, some NGOs and individuals, besides the Gandhians in the region, tried to revive the centre; it finally proved falling on deaf ears for almost 25 years. As the skilled hands of this drought-afflicted area had no work, the Badanavalu area slid into huge socio-economic depression.

Taking cognisance of this centre’s historic importance and the needs of the artisanal families that had lost livelihood support, the KVIC Chairman decided to prioritize this Gandhian Khadi centre for revival last year. KVIC helped in redeveloping the worksheds in the campus that had been destroyed and facilitated installation of 100 charkhas and 20 looms. Both Saxena and Chandramouli, with the help of Khadi Board, energised the NGO that had been working here in the past with programmatic working capital support.

“It is not the revival of a nonagenarian Khadi institution, rather it is also a tribute to those four lion-hearted Dalit women – who dared to fight against the social evils with Gandhian tool of self-reliance during the British rule,” Saxena says, adding, “We also brought in market interface and revived not only Khadi activities, but also the Village Industries activities in a modest way, with a plan to increase the support in a gradual manner.”

He further informed that an extension centre for training on honey mission had also been established, ensuring employment to over 100 women with guarantee of wages.  “Sanitary conditions in the campus also improved by constructing two toilets.  A capacity for Khadi production to the tune of over Rs. 5 lakhs a month has been initiated, fetching over Rs. 200 per woman employee per day as wage.  Training more villagers for skill development and bringing the youth of the catchment villages into the framework of employment is being actively pursued,” he added. 

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