- A solar charkha could give weavers returns of up to two-and-a-half times more than what they would earn using a conventional charkha.
- The solar panel that supplies power does not work during inclement weather or on cloudy days, weavers can use their hands to run the charkha
The charkha, the age-old contraption used to spin yarn manually, has got itself a makeover, courtesy technology that harnesses the sun’s rays into energy, which, in turn, runs the machine – a solar-powered chakra.
A “spinning wheel” is a device for spinning thread or yarn from fibres. It was fundamental to the cotton textile industry prior to the Industrial Revolution. It laid the foundations for later machinery such as the spinning jenny and spinning frame, which displaced the spinning wheel during the Industrial Revolution.
The charkha, or spinning wheel, was the physical embodiment and symbol of Gandhi’s constructive program. It represents Swadeshi, self-sufficiency, and at the same time interdependence, because the wheel is at the center of a network of cotton growers, carders, weavers, distributors, and users. . It also embodied the dignity of labor, equality, unity, as all volunteers were to spin each day, and finally independence, as British control of India was rooted in control of indigenous industries such as textiles. For this reason, Nehru called khadi the homespun cloth “the livery of our freedom.”
Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, set up by Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Limited has been preserving traditional handicrafts and providing employment to rural women in handicrafts and khadi.
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They have been using the traditional Charkha, but have now experimented with a solar chakra that has increased productivity and reduced fatigue.
A solar charkha could give weavers returns of up to two-and-a-half times more than what they would earn using a conventional charkha.
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