Winston Churchill described Mahatma Gandhi as a ‘Seditious Middle Temple Lawyer now ‘posing as a half naked fakir.’
Churchill was provoked to describe Mahatma Gandhi as a ‘seditious Middle Temple lawyer’ because when Gandhi was in London, as a lawyer he wore Western attire, while on his return to India, a year after the launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement Gandhi adopted the dress of the poorest Indian-Khadi dhoti made of coarse homespun cotton yarn.
(i) Churchill by this statement was trying to project Gandhi as an opportunist.
(ii) Moreover he regarded Gandhi as a threat to British empire and therefore wanted to malign him by describing him as seditious.
The symbolic strength of Gandhiji’s dress lay in its utmost austerity. The poorest of the poor in India could identify with him (peasants, artisans, urban poor). Under Gandhiji’s leadership the national movement became a truly mass movement. It reached the remotest corners of the land.
Mahatma Gandhi’s wearing of short khadi dhoti was a rejection of western mill made cloth and acceptance of ‘Swadeshi’.