Spinning yarn on the charkha

Vibha Mitra charkha gandhi khaadi sustainabality

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. In India, khadi is not just a cloth, it is a whole movement started by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Khadi movement promoted an ideology, an idea that Indians could be self-reliant on cotton and be free from the high priced goods and clothes which the British were selling to them. The British would buy cotton from India at cheap prices and export them to Britain where they were woven to make clothes. These clothes were then brought back to India to be sold at hefty prices. The Khadi movement aimed at boycotting foreign goods including cotton and promoting Indian goods, thereby improving India's economy. Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khadi for rural self-employment and self-reliance in the 1920s. Instead of using cloth manufactured industrially in Britain to spin our own cloth, thus making khadi an integral part and icon of the Swadeshi movement. The freedom struggle revolved around the use of khadi fabrics and the dumping of foreign-made clothes. Adopting khadi as a lifestyle choice symbolised the move away from British textiles and products, resulting in all those spontaneous bonfires into which people flung their rich silks and laces from England and the promotion of all things Indian. Aasha Kiran stressing on the cause of the weavers, their plight and the textile industry which is the backbone of employment, growth and a human-intensive initiative. We get attracted to the glitzy but if we adopt handloom we can actually save a weaver. Abstruse concepts for school going kids, but if one doesn’t start young we may lose the race. We wish to organise workshops to this end. Our pet project is a hand spinning workshop to acquaint everyone with local sustainable Khadi. A brilliant brainchild of Gandhi! One also hopes that one can inspire students to come forward with help and conversations so that we can make this a movement that genuinely makes a difference. We need space and an audience. Let this be a tsunami!

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