True Story of Handmade Ponduru Khadi
Khadi is a revolutionary fabric and binds us all with the recollection of our collective win over the British imperialism. But unfortunately, we have forgotten to keep alive the place that spun the best quality Khadi . Ponduru, a small village 25 km away from Srikakulam has been producing super fine Khadi as a tradition since years. Men and women of the village are extensively involved in the art and are on toes to keep up the quality of the fabric produced.
Two types of cotton are used by the artisans. White hill cotton and red cotton for fine and coarse yarn respectively. The jawbone of Valuga fish is used to comb the cotton. This makes it different by adding a shiny and silky touch to the resulting cotton. At this stage the cotton looks elegant and immaculate. The craftsmanship is embedded in the flesh and bones of the locals and is sincerely passed on to the successive generations.
In 1949 Acharya Vinobha Bhabe founded the Andhra Fine Khadi Karmikabhivrudhi Sangam which is now functioning under the Khadi Village Industries Commission(KVIC), acts as a parent institution to support the spinning and weaving of the fabric. A total of 10 yarn purchasing centres have been established from which the cotton is supplied and yarn is collected.
Mahatma Gandhi was all praise for the high quality of Khadi produced in Ponduru. The finesse of the fabric surprised him. He had even sent his son Devdas to Ponduru to get an insight into the originality of the fabric. Overwhelmed by it, he mentioned Ponduru Khadi in ‘Young India’, a national newspaper published during the pre-independence era.
The art and the artists, both are enthralling. As you walk through the village, exchanging words with the artisans , devouring the process in which the fabric is produced, you cannot suppress the exigency to own a piece of the precious Ponduru Khadi. Let’s not allow this grand testimony of our glorious past to shrivel. Grace Ponduru with your presence, adorn yourself with the authentic , fine fabric and make its name reverberate in every corner of the globe.