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VILLAGE ECONOMY > PANCHAYAT RAJ > Charkha in the Villages
Charkha in the Villages
The spinning wheel represents to me the hope of the masses. The masses lost their freedom, such as it was, with the loss of the Charkha. The Charkha supplemented the agriculture of the villagers and gave it dignity. It was the friend and solace of the widow. It kept the villagers from idleness. For the Charkha included all the anterior and posterior industries — ginning, carding, warping, sizing, dyeing and weaving. These in their turn kept the village carpenter and the blacksmith busy. The Charkha enabled the seven hundred thousand villages to become self-contained. With the exit of the Charkha went the other village industries, such as the oil press. Nothing took the place of these industries. Therefore the villages were drained of their varied occupations and their creative talent and what little wealth these brought them.
Hence, if the villagers are to come into their own, the most natural thing that suggests itself is the revival of the Charkha and all it means.
This revival cannot take place without an army of selfless Indians of intelligence and patriotism working with a single mind in the villages to spread the message of the Charkha and bring a ray of hope and light into their lustreless eyes. This is a mighty effort at co-operation and adult education of the correct type. It brings about a silent and sure revolution like the silent but sure and life-giving revolution of the Charkha.
Twenty years' experience of Charkha work has convinced me of the correctness of the argument here advanced by me. The Charkha has served the poor Muslims and Hindus in almost an equal measure. Nearly five crores of rupees have been put into the pockets of these lakhs of village artisans without fuss and tomtoming.
Hence I say without hesitation that the Charkha must lead us to Swaraj in terms of the masses belonging to all faiths. The Charkha restores the villages to their rightful place and abolishes distinctions between high and low.
The ideal no doubt is for every village to spin and weave for itself just as today most villages grow corn for themselves. It is easier for every village to spin and weave for itself than to grow all its corn. Every village can stock enough cotton and spin and weave without any difficulty.
Young India, 11-8-1921