The tabletop or floor charkha is one of the oldest known forms of the spinning wheel. The charkha works with a drive wheel being turned by hand, while the yarn is spun off the tip of the spindle. The charkha was both a tool and a symbol of the Indian independence movement.
The charkha, a small, portable, hand-cranked wheel, is ideal for spinning cotton and other fine, short-staple fibers, though it can be used to spin other fibers as well. The size varies, from that of a hardbound novel to the size of a briefcase, to a floor charkha.
This is a beautiful antique charkha with inlay and lacquerwork, the old photo is of Mahatma Gandhi sitting with his charkha.
Mahatma Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel
Mahatma Gandhi brought the charkha into larger use with his teachings. He hoped the charkha would assist the peoples of India achieve self-sufficiency and independence, and so used the charkha as a symbol of the Indian independence movement.