John Forbes-Watson was sent out by the new textile industry of Lancashire to find out why Indians still preferred their own to the English cloth, and what were the processes that made even fine Indian muslin durable, unlike the English. After discussing fibre diameter, length, and the number of filaments and twist in English & Indian yarns he says [p 63] "... it being well known that for wear these very fine machine made muslins of Europe are practically useless, whereas the very finest of the hand-made ones from India are proverbially lasting, and bear frequent washing, which the finest English or European muslins do not." [ The Textile Manufactures and the Costumes of the People of India, 1866].
In my personal experience the fine Khadi made from desi cotton, Gossypium arboreum or Kondapatthi as it is known in Andhra, is amazing in its softness and durability. The malkha process aspires to retain these qualities in its cloth, though we have not yet used traditional varieties of cotton.
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