The Charkha, the wheel of life

Vibha Mitra charkha gandhi khaadi therapy

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.

Therapy, quiet solitude and the even-paced movements
creating threads of bonding. Family ties of love woven for their near and dear ones. Gandhi indeed understood this and wished to knit the Indians to unitedly oppose the British, Satyagraha and Swaraj.

Truth force and self rule indubitably impossible without unconditional support from home. The women imbibed strength of purpose and resolve to work with the men to acquire a better life for future generations. Family ties that bind! A symbolic representation of the freedom movement, placed in the centre of our Indian Flag.

Gandhi introduced hand spinning to make us self reliant and empower them with a skill that can be used at home parallel to their chores. The charkha, or spinning wheel, was the physical embodiment and symbol of Gandhi's constructive program. It represents Swadeshi, self-sufficiency, and interdependence because the wheel is at the centre of a network of cotton growers, carders, weavers,
distributors, and users...

Ganga Mazumdar introduced Gandhi to the Charkha and it was appropriately called the Kisan Charkha to be the mascot for the Indian farmers who suffered directly because of the monopolistic intentions of the British to prosper and fill their coffers. The khadi movement by Gandhi aimed at boycotting foreign cloth.

Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khadi for rural self-employment and self-reliance (instead of using cloth manufactured industrially in Britain) in the 1920s in India, thus making khadi an integral part and an icon of the Swadeshi movement. This cloth was called khaddar or khadi meaning rough, pure, original, organic, close to nature. By extrapolation, he intuitively promoted a greener environment free from the devastating effects of industrialization and over-utilization of resources.

There is a growing movement to bring back Desi cotton which is a healthier alternative for us and the environment. Spinning on the Charkha is a therapy for a people that is unsettled by strife. An inspiration to practice truth in our lives. There are many who are tirelessly working towards this, introducing the Charkha and the spinning process to inculcate the age-old values which have fallen by the wayside.

Arup da took us back in time and I was suitably piqued and firmly resolved to join the movement to get back our “roots”. We not only deserve it but this may provide a balm and solution to the fractured core of our country.

The wheel turns – a single turn making the spindle spin a hundred times wrapping cotton. We have to pledge to spread the message and make this revolution a liberation. Relive 1947. Jai Hind!

Postscript
Lets hand spin. Baby steps to start at the beginning to make them committed to our traditions and august practices. Most importantly cultivate a love for our textiles.
A therapeutic experience for the troubled souls and maybe a start to make a change within and without.
BTW I am told that if we spin for an hour a day we will have enough yarn to make a pair of trousers and a shirt for an adult.

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