IT was well past midnight somewhere in the capital, when the leader with the white beard and fifty-six inch chest heard the tapping of a walking stick as it slowly made its way across the ground somewhere outside the window. “Who dares walk around my compound at the dead of night?” he roared.
The tapping became louder and in the darkness of the night, the eerie silhouette of an old man could be seen, wearing just a strip of white cloth, round rimmed spectacles sitting on his ancient nose, with eyes that penetrated ones soul. He carried a strange contraption in his hand.
“What is it you carry?” asked the leader with the white beard. “I thought you would know it well!” chuckled the old man outside. “I know all the machinery in the world, that we now want to make in India,” said the white beard, “But what silly machine is this?”
“The same silly charakha you have decided to picture yourself with!” grinned the old man outside. “It was I who sat next to this simple contraption in every picture for the last seventy years! I believe you have taken my place, which is fine with me, as long as you know what this machine means!” “It spins yarn!” said the haughty voice of the white bearded man. “Ah dear sir, this simple charakha stood against the force of the mighty British empire. The yarn that came out of this wheel, created our own desi fabric, that soon surpassed in quantity, all that the rolling mills of England had to offer. Suddenly an empire financially devastated by the second world war, found the Indian market that could have helped it limp back economically, through the sale of cloth, was closed!”
“All that in this little spinning wheel?” asked the white bearded man incredulously as he slowly walked to his bedroom door and let himself into the compound. The old man, who had won India’s freedom, who had taught millions the world over the idea of non-violence smiled, and looked at the white bearded leader, “Can you spin yarn?” he asked.” “Yes!” said the white bearded leader smiling. “That I surely can!” “Not the ones you have been spinning till now sir,” smiled the old man as he picked up his spinning wheel and held it up. “This wheel,” he said, “comes with a very heavy price. The price is truth!
“What?” asked the white bearded man guardedly. “Freedom!” said Gandhiji, “To hold this wheel, to be pictured with it, requires a heart of compassion, a mind of forgiveness, and the result; a soul that flies free, rising high in freedom!” “Guards!” shouted the white bearded man with his fifty-six inch chest bursting with rage, “Guards throw out this intruder..!”
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