Chronicles of a Charkha
Restore the spinning wheel to its place and you will solve the problem of poverty. ~ M.K. Gandhi
The word Charkha comes from the Persian word 'Charkh' meaning wheel or circle. Charkha represents Gandhi's ideals to make the Indians self-reliant and to ensure economic equality. Gandhiji believed that spinning of the Charkha will ensure the country's progress and will empower the poor and the oppressed and would diminish the use of machine-made British products. He said-"With every revolution of wheel spins peace, good will and love."
A simple wheel became the machinery to eliminate poverty and a technology for economic growth and social renewal under the Swadeshi Movement. The excavations at Harappa and Mohenjodaro reveal that the Charkha was a part of the Indian household and was also used by the Vedic Aryans. The Charkha was the companion of the women who worked in their spare time. Right from picking the cotton to carding, slivering and weaving; the entire process was done by hand. Thus, the wheel played a pivotal role in the interdependence of a system of cotton cultivators, carders, weavers and merchants.
It gave the rural population an additional source of income besides agriculture and cattle rearing and hence making sustenance easy.
There were mainly two types of Charkhas- Bardoli Charkha or the Peti Charkha which is in the box form. Yerwada Charkha is the regular form of round wheel that we usually get to see. Both were named after the prisons in India.
It cannot be denied that the Charkha became a catalyst for the Indian Independence and unified the Indian masses to a common cause. Giving the message of dignity of labor, Charkha has never lost its popularity, it continues still to weave the heritage fabric even today and “Khadi” still has its admirers and propagators. The Charkha continues to create unique and rare piece of fabric with its beauty in its irregularities it is still a sought after fabric.
After Gandhiji, PM Modi has taken a strive to restore the long lost love for this wheel that spins the way to spiritual liberation. PM Modi has taken the vow to create more than 80 lakh jobs by harnessing solar energy to operate the Charkhas. These will be called the Solar Charkhas which are currently running in the Khanwa Village of Nawada District in Bihar and will soon be implemented in other villages also, with an aim to increase the income of the villagers by four folds.