The book “The Gandhian Philosophy Of Spinning-Wheel” is indeed a golden book published on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of Indian Republic in the new millennium. Professor Mohit Chakrabarti has made a commendable effort to trace out the philosophical background of the spinning-wheel and to highlight the various aspects of the spinning wheel from the Gandhian angle.
The book is strengthened by seven chapters running into about 105 pages,
making a thin bound small volume dedicated two different Gandhian
educational thinkers, Dr. Mahendra Kumar, Editor of Gandhi Marg, and
Professor Dilip Kumar Sinah, Vice-Chancellor of Vishwa Bharati University, Shanti
Niketan, created by Rabindranath Tagore. It is obvious
that the author of the book has not only sought blessings but has also
borrowed their ideas to design this book. It is obviously based on the
library research with the original writings of Mahatma Gandhi and on the
secondary sources. Besides, a creative thinking of the author is also
reflected through the figures and diagrams, highlighting the paramount
important of the spinning-wheel which serves as a focal point of the child’s
growth and development of personality.
To begin with, the author makes an attempt to spell out the aims and
objectives of the spinning-wheel in the first chapters. As an inward
sprit, the spinning-wheel, as Mahatma Gandhi introspects, epitomizes man
as a divine being. As an outward spirit, it emphasizes self-help,
self-service, self-contentment, and austerity. The dream of the
spinning-wheel, as he visualizes, is the dream of a better emancipation of man as an individual and social being.
In the second chapter, Gandhian perspectives of education and the
spinning-wheel are analysed. The analysis reveals that the educational
system can be shaped or refined through a craft and that the
spinning-wheel can play a very significant role so as to make education
self-reliant and self-supporting.
The third chapter, titled “Soceity and the spinning-wheel”, clearly
indicates that the spinning-wheel binds the heart of everyone in society
with the common cord of social oneness. The seeds of national and social
cohesion can be sown through the music of the spinning-wheel. However, the
author emphatically argues that true Swaraj and prosperity of society can
be visualized and realized only through the spinning-wheel being the
centre of all handicraft.
The concept of nonviolence and the spinning-wheel is discussed in chapter
four. The author points out that the concept of sacrifice well nurtured in
Gandhi’s concept of nonviolence and the spinning-wheel is also at the root
of his concept of the spinning-wheel. When Gandhi associates nonviolence
with the spinning-wheel, he actually makes a unison of worship with work
and he considers the spinning-wheel the best symbol of nonviolence.
An eleven-page scholarly analysis of the book under chapter five
highlights the religious dimensions of the spinning-wheel. It instills the
true concept of religion by means of the spinning-wheel which Gandhi calls
“Sarvadharma Samanatva”. This
chapter clearly indicates that Gandhi is always in favour of a new religion that
teaches how to safeguard and enrich self-respect and self-development of each
individual in order to safeguard and enrich national honour and national
The sixth chapter deals with the humanistic spirit of the spinning-wheel.
At the outset, the author records that the spinning-wheel is the true
symbol of humanism and it is an effective vehicle to serve as a spurt both
inwardly and outwardly, directly and indirectly. Plain living or living
nobly as true humanism always aims at is the sine qua non of the spinning
wheel. Further, this chapter obviously reveals the four significant
reasons why Gandhi advocates the humanistic spirit of the spinning-wheel.
In the last chapter, the extraordinary power of the wheel is indicated
under the caption “postscript”. It is soul-stirring to record the fact
that Mahatma Gandhi expressed his desire that he craved to
die with his hand at the spinning-wheel. Further, he wanted to change the
very attitude of man towards man and society and vice versa by introducing the spinning-wheel.
There is no doubt that this book will change the minds of the younger
generations and the attitude of the people in the new millennium and the
centuries to come. On the whole, Mohit Chakrabarti’s efforts deserve full praise, especially for his deft
handling of both primary and secondary sources.
The book is a scholarly piece of work, which deserves careful reading by
social scientists, planners, and administrators, especially at a time when
the love for auto machines and electronic goods is increasing and new
perspectives as well as alternatives are being heralded.
It will interest all those working in the area of Gandhian studies,
government, voluntary sector, and industrial units occupied by modern
machinery without a philosophy.