Malkha stands for a decentralised, sustainable, field-to-fabric cotton textile chain, collectively owned and managed by the primary producers – the farmers, the ginners, the spinners, the dyers and the weavers.
The Malkha initiative, started in 2003, includes at present spinners, dyers and weavers engaged in understanding and evolving the practice of collective working. Once ginning is introduced, farmers and ginners will also be part of the initiative.
The idea of Malkha comes from the history of cotton cloth making in the Indian subcontinent, the history of a robust and resilient industry embedded in diverse local cultures and customs, a history stretching over millenia. A pattern of textile production that was subverted by the Industrial Revolution model that respects neither nature nor society.
The Malkha way of making cotton cloth is an alternative to the present industrial model where ghettoization of the worker and pollution of nature is the norm. Malkha is an attempt, the first in modern history, to make yarn specifically for the handloom, to rid the artisanal textile chain of its dependence on large spinning mills that distort the small-scale, village-based nature of handloom cloth making.
The Malkha process explores technology that responds to the needs of primary producers, does away with unnecessary and wasteful processes in its journey from plant to cloth, is ecologically sensible, and least damaging to the intrinsic properties of cotton.
The Malkha fabric reflects its heritage in its distinctive texture, drape and feel as the contemporary standard bearer of the Indian handwoven cotton textile tradition.