neel or niel (India) Hindi term for indigo; similar to añil, the Spanish or Arabic term for indigo. In India, the technique of bluing or washing white frabrics with neel was practiced during the Swadeshi Movement of 1903 led by Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated for swaraj, or self-rule. During this movement for independence, indigenous Indian goods were adopted over foreign goods. Indians switched from using and wearing imported British fabrics to their own locally made, handwoven khadi. Because khadi is naturally off-white in color, bluing made it appear whiter and brighter, more similar to British mill-made cottons. Neel washing is likely a much older practice, and probably once done with natural indigo powder in lieu of indigo. dosa dyes with neel to achieve the faintest hint of indigo blue. See also khadi; indigo