Clothing Gandhi's Nation

Clothing Gandhi's Nation

Homespun and Modern India
Lisa Trivedi
Distribution: World
Publication date: 5/22/2007
ISBN: 978-0-253-11678-9
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In Clothing Gandhi’s Nation, Lisa Trivedi explores the making of one of modern India’s most enduring political symbols, khadi: a homespun, home-woven cloth. The image of Mohandas K. Gandhi clothed simply in a loincloth and plying a spinning wheel is familiar around the world, as is the sight of Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other political leaders dressed in “Gandhi caps” and khadi shirts. Less widely understood is how these images associate the wearers with the swadeshi movement—which advocated the exclusive consumption of indigenous goods to establish India’s autonomy from Great Britain—or how khadi was used to create a visual expression of national identity after Independence. Trivedi brings together social history and the study of visual culture to account for khadi as both symbol and commodity. Written in a clear narrative style, the book provides a cultural history of important and distinctive aspects of modern Indian history.

Author Bio

Lisa Trivedi is Associate Professor of History at Hamilton College. She lives in New Hartford, New York.


". . .a significant contribution to both Gandhian studies and our understanding of India between 1920 and 1940." —Religious Studies Review

"[A] significant contribution to the modern history of India and, by extension, to comparative imperialism and world history." —Sandria B. Freitag, University of North Carolina

"[A] significant contribution to the modern history of India andby extension, to comparative imperialism and world history." —
Sandria B. Freitag, University of North Carolina

". . . a fascinating and informative study of that most familiar artefact of Indian nationalism. Its main achievement is to present a coherent and very persuasive analysis of the ways in which this basic, everyday object became representative of the nation." —Journal of Social History , Summer 2009

"Trivedi engages with relevant theoretical and historiographical issues, and this is done whle maintaining a clear, and readable narrative. . . . Students will find it accessible and informative as they study the history of modern India. Researchers working on nationalism, consumption and visual studies will find this thoughtfully argued book very useful indeed." —
Contemporary South Asia , Vol. 18.4, December 2010

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. A Politics of Consumption: Swadeshi and Its Institutions
2. Technologies of Nationhood: Visually Mapping the Nation
3. The Nation Clothed: Making an "Indian" Body
4. Rituals of Time: The Flag and the Nationalist Calendar
5. Inhabiting National Space: Khadi in Public