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Capturing Khadi's fascinating journey

Exhibition titled ‘Azadi ki Khadi’will go on until September 25, at IIC

Capturing Khadis fascinating journey

From collecting the iconic pictures of Mahatma Gandhi spinning the wheel, making 'Khadi' fabric – to actually researching and aiming to present the journey of 'Khadi' to the masses, became the ambition of Sunaina Suneja – who has compiled and curated an exhibition titled 'Azadi ki Khadi'.

The exhibition which represents the beautiful journey of Khadi is being held at India International Centre, New Delhi until September 25.

Sunaina, who has worked as a Khadi designer for almost 30 years now revealed that the fabric drove her to the extent that she always felt like doing something around it. Being a designer and close to the fabric, around the 50th Independence Day of the country, she decided that she would put this thought into action.

"Though the idea hit me in 1997, I was adamant that I want to do something for 'spinning wheel' but it was in 2012 when I started pitching my idea and gave many presentations on how I want to execute it," she said.

This thought was strengthened in 2011, when Sunaina was introduced to different stories written by different people about Gandhi and Khadi. Finding her way, she started researching, reading and finding more about the subject.

Talking about the idea behind 'Azadi ki Khadi', she said, "I was totally fascinated by the story of this person and what he tried to achieve through this one spinning wheel."

She believes that apart from becoming a weapon to fight against the colonial rule, Gandhi also used the charkha as a tool to fight gender disparity – help women rise in the social strata of the country, and also, to bridge the gap between rich and poor.

Discussing about the current scenario of Khadi and the modern spinning machines, the curator feels a little disappointed because she thinks, this new machine might help in increasing the productivity, but it also removes the essence of traditional spinning wheel, which she also likes to make fabrics on.

Since her job in Khadi as a designer, she has visited many places in India for different projects. She described her experience as a "beautiful journey", to witness women from all the states and regions spinning the charkha in different styles, and kids learning spinning in Gujarat.

Sunaina, who has a charkha displayed in the exhibition – which she bought back in 1997, said, "Whenever I used to visit Punjab for a Khadi project and talked to the local women there, I always used to see a different kind of spark in their eyes when we used to discuss charkha."

"They say they love the art of spinning and they want to use the old charkhas," she added.

The magic of Khadi is clearly visible since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, but such small steps towards the awareness of the art and its beauty would help the country and its local craftsmen, who depend on the fabric for their livelihood.

Meghna Khanna

Meghna Khanna

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