Talwandi Sabo, Dec.15 (ANI): Charkha, the traditional spinning wheel that once formed the face of Swadeshi movement and was used by Mahatma Gandhi to mount a campaign against British rulers, has become a decorative piece of art.
The Charkha is not being used generally to make yarns these days, as mechanical looms have taken over.
'Charkha', a small spindle type spinning wheel used primarily for spinning cotton and other short-stapled fibers, has become more of an antique item.
In Jodhpur Pakhar Village in Talwandi Sabo, Gurlal Singh's family has been involved in making Charkhas for generations. Sitting in his mud house in a non-descript village, Gurlal Singh crafts a Charkha. He says that he has taken to Charkha-making as a family tradition and carrying trying to carry forward the tradition.Just a decade-and-a-half ago `Charkhas' were in great demand in Punjab and his family used to churn out 60 pieces per month. The number has dwindled to 10 over the years. The villagers complain that urbanization has reduced the demand for Charkhas.. There are several non-resident Indians and local natives who buy Charkhas as decorative pieces. Spinning wheel is no longer used to spin cotton. "We have been making Charkhas for a long time and keeping alive the tradition. We wish to keep the legacy alive. Our Charkhas are popular throughout India and abroad. We also make miniature Charkhas for export purposes," said Gurlal Singh, the artisan. Now, the 15-odd families in the village, it turns a busy affair during peak season from January to March when Punjabi marriages are solemnized. There was a time in the past when Charkhas were given as a gift in dowry to the bride. Today, these Charkhas are bought as a showpiece. Charkha making enables the craftsmen to use their idle time of the year productively. But these craftsmen want their children to take to different profession after studies. It takes three days to make a Charkha and is sold for 15 to 20 dollars
"My family, especially the youngsters don't want to continue with this work. We also want that our children join some other business after their studies. We face several problems, including the availability of raw wood. It's costly too, and we are forced to give up this work. We want our children get good education and become teacher or join some other line of work," said Joginder Singh. In far-flung villages of northern India, there are many women who spin the `Charkha'. And, this has helped in preserving the dying tradition.Interestingly, the simple device promoted by Mahatama Gandhi - the Father of the Nation, as a symbol of self-reliance and a source of income for the rural folks, has today transformed into e-charkha, which not only produces yarn but also generates electricity. By Avtar Gil (ANI)
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