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Dreaming It Forward is the third and final book of the 5 Year Plan Project begun in 2009. The book’s focus is organic cotton farmers and the handloom khadi cloth created by Gandhian ashrams in India today. The khadi was made from one metric ton of organic cotton commissioned from two small farm families in Umri village, Maharashtra, India at the very beginning of their planting season in July 2021. A time lapse film of the cotton growing was made for the edition.

The project is a collaboration of Aaron Sinift in the US with Kahakashan Khan & Jitendra Kumar in India, and Mr. Vijay Kumar Handa, an elder at the Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabha, in New Delhi. It is a fusion of women’s, Muslim, Dalit, Gandhian, farmer, and transgender voices to create a living portrait of India through the lens of cotton, labor, and khadi. Twelve Gandhian service organizations throughout India created the book by hand using traditional means to create a swadeshi artifact consistent with Gandhi’s vision. Just spinning the thread took approx. 100 people about 6000 days of work.

Dreaming It Forward features 27 artists (19 from India, Pakistan, Assam; with Turkey, Haiti, Mexico, S. Korea, America) responding to rural agriculture, domestic life, and the stages of creating handloom khadi. The idea is to present an artifact (art & fact) of a living reality in India of 6.5 million cotton farmers, 70% of whom support their families on less than 4 acres of land. It documents the processes of creating khadi and the sarvodaya (universal uplift) workers whose lives are committed to serving India’s poorest people. Most people involved in organizing the project are farmers, or from farm families, even the wood block-cutters are farmers.

One metric ton raw organic desi was cotton sourced from 2 original farm families in Umri village, Maharashtra India & a Punjabi farmer support organization. This raw cotton was processed and spun by hand in the home by approximately 100 spinners in 5 different Gandhian ashrams across India. The thread was handloomed by these ashrams into Khadi cloth. This Khadi cloth was then blockprinted with hand cut wood blocks (220+) to create 39 separate multi-color artworks. An additional 7 pages of descriptive text was silkscreened onto this same Khadi. The covers, front & back are hand embroidered (10 days work each pg). The pages are stitched together and bound into books by hand. The embroidery on the spine is also hand work.

The edition is designed as a resource for educators and researchers with complete contacts. Dreaming It Forward will be exhibited in National Gandhi Museums (NGM) throughout India beginning at Sevagram Ashram in Wardha, and at NGM in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

5 fundraising special limited edition copies will be hand embroidered completely cover to cover by women of the Kadam Phool Katna in Murshidabad, W, Bengal.
This hand embroidered fundraising version of Dreaming It Forward is available for $8,800, or it can be purchased in a bundle with the standard edition for $9,800. Please contact [email protected] for any inquiries regarding this edition.