“Charkha is the symbol of the nation’s prosperity and therefore freedom. I am confident of earning its blessings for suggesting a revival of the Charkha. I stake my all on it. For every revolution of the wheel spins peace, goodwill and love.”
(M. K. Gandhi, Young India,1921)
Rarely has a device charged a quest for freedom and defined independence for a nation like the simple spinning wheel – the Charkha. It was Bapu’s ingenuity that deployed the Charkha as a symbol of political emancipation, and economic self-reliance. Bapu adopted the Charkha as a tool to highlight homespun Khadi and dismiss the yoke of foreign products, to help create financial liberty for every Indian, and to lodge a method of nonviolent protest. Soon, the Charkha became an icon of the Swadeshi movement for a new, self-reliant India, creating an enduring impact and leaving an indelible imprint on our country. Ever since, it has been an integral part of our Indian identity.
This year, Gandhi Jayanti celebrations at The DN Wisdom Tree Global School were marked by a unique programme. We celebrated Bapu’s birthday with children and charkha. Specialist Charkha spinners were brought in from Ganjam, one of the last bastions of practice in Odisha, to demonstrate the art of Charkha weaving to children, and help them learn a few hacks. The buzz in the gathering of our little people was palpable to say the least. Children, all agog with excitement, took turns to handle spinning the cotton, alongside master artisans. And there were goosebump moments for the adults.
Working on the Charkha is a meditative experience. It helps improve concentration, balance and coordination. Children develop skills and values for the long term, and understand the importance of self reliance. They learn the pride in wearing what has been handwoven, it inculcates the love of handlooms and handicrafts.
As we concluded Bapu’s birthday commemoration, we were sure that many such activities will now be embedded in our calendar, promoting the joy of our roots through rekindling of heritage traditions.