On birthdays, Gandhi, and spinning

As if there wasn’t enough going on right now, I’ve just emerged from a three-day weekend of birthday madness!  My older son turned six, a day before my MIL’s birthday, so there were two family suppers and a kid’s backyard party.  Much socialising, eating, cooking, present-opening, running about, drinking, and general merry-making.  And boy, I came away exhausted by it all!

The final countdown to the events I’m attending at the Victoria Fibre Festival is on, and I’m just starting to feel the crunch.  There is a lot yet to do, but I think I can handle it (ask me again on the 17th!).  And I’ve got help in those last days, so that makes a difference in my stress levels.

In other musings, I’ve been listening to a podcast called “CraftLit“, where part of each episode is devoted to reading chapters of books, from the LibriVox recordings.  This podcast started in 2006, and is still going strong with about 170+ episodes.  I’m on episode eleven.  So I have lots to look forward to.  The book they are currently playing from LibriVox is Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, a classic, and a personal favourite.

In episode eleven, the host Heather Ordover shares her views on Mohandas (or more commonly known as Mahatma) Gandhi, and how he started a movement to encourage people to spin.  From a class curriculum from the Yale-New Haven Teacher’s Institute, section F

“Gandhi believed that hand spinning, combined with weaving on hand looms, was the only logical way for the people of India to become self-sufficient and independent. He claimed that if India employed his methods, poverty would be greatly reduced if not totally eliminated. He said, ‘I feel convinced that the revival of hand-spinning and hand-weaving will make the largest contribution to the economic and the moral regeneration of India.’ (Young India, July 21, 1920). Consider the fact that at the time Gandhi returned to India in 1914 most of India’s farmers were idle for four months of the year, a factor which greatly contributed to their poverty and hopelessness. Gandhi believed that if the poor people of India would learn to spin thread from cotton or flax at home and diligently applied these newly learned skills they could overcome many of their economic and social ills.”

I must admit to knowing very, very little about Gandhi, other than seeing a few bits from the film of the same name, and only aware of some of his actions, life & death by the little I’ve absorbed over the years by living on this planet.  However, of this aspect of the spinning, and encouraging others to learn to spin, I knew absolutely nothing.  But I was thrilled to learn of it.  And it drives me to learn more about that great man.  First I’ll start with the movie, as seems natural.  Plus I love Sir Ben Kinsley – he once traveled on the ferry boat I used to work on, though I wasn’t present that day (dang!).   Start with the movie, and go from there.

I love that Gandhi was a spinner!


2 thoughts on “On birthdays, Gandhi, and spinning

  1. I've watched the film at least a dozen times, it really is amazing. (Should I bring the DVD when I come down?) Ben Kingsley is nothing short of amazing.Ghandi was pretty amazing. The concept of satyagraha is pretty interesting – the non-violent non-cooperation – and in some ways is in line with knitting. I studied him years ago when I wrote a paper for my History of South Africa class.

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