After taking a long train journey, Mahatma Gandhi reached Madurai on September 22 in 1921. His experiences during this train journey were going to change his clothing style forever.
Mahatma had already boycotted the foreign clothes and shifted to hand-weaved Khadi. During interaction with fellow travellers, Mahatma realised that Khadi was too costly for fellow Indians and hence, beyond their reach.
"I realised the substratum of truth behind the remark… The millions of compulsorily naked men, save for their langoti four inches wide and nearly as many feet long, gave through their limbs the naked truth", Mahatma wrote.
At a public function in Madurai on September 22, he decided to shun all clothes and adopt only a loincloth.
"All the alterations I have made in my course of life have been effected by momentous occasions; and they have been made after such a deep deliberation that I have hardly had to regret them. And I did them, as I could not help doing them. Such a radical alteration – in my dress – I effected in Madurai", Mahatma wrote.
The place where he appeared first in public in his loincloth attire is now called 'Gandhi Pottal'.
"Gandhi wanted to be one among the peasants. Notably, he chose the dress code of a South Indian farmer and not a North Indian one. It shows how a leader should join the masses he wants to represent", The New Indian Express quoted Vice-Chairperson of Gandhi Memorial Museum M Manickam.