As our first initiative, we are trying to help a colony of weavers from the quaint railhead to Sunderban tiger reserve called Canning. Mrinal a master weaver running a firm called ‘Baidyanath’, trying to sustain 25 weaver families around the area.
Spinning yarn on the charkha, Gandhi believed, inculcated discipline and dedication. It was meant to be a great social equaliser — “It sits well on the shoulders of the poor, and it can be made, as it was made in the days of yore, to adorn the bodies of the richest and most artistic men and women” — and was also a tool to bring women into the fold of the freedom movement.
The Charkha, the wheel of life turns and the spindles draw out the thread from bolls of cotton. Up and down, it needs concentration, focus and intuition. Almost all the women of yore had these qualities as they instinctively spun cotton in their free time.
Kantha literally means rags. Old sarees stacked together and stitched over with a running stitch. Super soft, mother’s sarees, sarees with all the careworn smells and emotions of a mothers love filters through. Children know surely and instinctitively, their mother’s touch, her breath, her heartbeat. My sister always slept with my ma’s saree clutched in her hands. Once when my parents were travelling we stayed at my aunt’s place. We forgot the saree. No other saree pacified her till we got the original, a tattered piece. The power of mother’s love sewn together for generations. It was like the patchwork...