In recent days, while knitting I have been learning about Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, about spinning & carding, and the art & industry of spinning, and also listening to NPR political news which always is a dreary subject. But more about Mahatma, the “great-souled” man.
Caption from LIFE magazine (1945): “At 76, the Mahatma is in good physical condition. He weighs 110 pounds, but he is not so frail as he looks.”
Gandhi was a religious leader, nationalist, and social reformer (1869-1948) who’s method of peaceful protest brought change to India, and through his example he empowered millions with a sense of direction and courage. One of Gandhi’s notorious civil disobedience acts protesting British rule was organizing & leading thousands of people to walk 241 miles to the sea, so they could simply make salt, something that was illegal under an obnoxious salt taxing law of Imperialist oppression at the time (read more about this significant protest….) Gandhi has since his lifetime gone beyond being a leader of peace in India, to an example of peace in the world.
[wurld]noun + [pees] noun: World peace is exemplified by an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among all people in all nations , ideally encompassing ethics of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare.
But the most iconic thing about Gandhi that I think of , is his gift to people of the spinning wheel to empower and unite them. Gandhi taught his people to spin and to take pride and ownership in their labor & contribution, and so the millions spun on the wheel as it became an integral part in creating the cloth of the nation. The spinning wheel even became the emblem of the nation and was printed on to India’s flag…
“Every revolution of the wheel spins peace, good will, and love.” –Gandhi
The simple mechanics of turning a whorl to make fine finished thread out of unorganized fluff. When I think about it, spinning is a wonderful example of human potential, and perhaps what belonged even to the earliest prehistoric civilizations as they made cloth to better their lives.
However in modern days it seems as though the craft of spinning has become a sort of privilege of the artisans life, if not the perpetual hobbyist, but I am digging deep into the well of my own humanity to find a stronger direction from it. I am suddenly in the throes of wanting to be inwardly groomed by these concepts. Although my life is already a peaceful protest in a way, I am spinning hope for the future.
Well, what I have learned about Gandhi and his spinning has at least inspired the name of a new little design forthcoming, but that will be another day. I will leave off today with one of my favorite quotes…