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.