The Father of the Nation saw the humble spinning wheel as being more than a mere device but as something that would help India attain self-sufficiency and surge ahead.
Nearly 66 years after freedom was won, a 16-year-old girl who cleared her SSLC exams in Dindigul with high marks and yet found time to supplement her family income spending four weaving on a handloom daily, dreams of clearing the civil services exams.
Nithya, a student of the Devanagar Girls High School in Chinnalapatti, scored 491 out of 500 marks in the recently-concluded SSLC exams. She scored cent-per-cent marks in social science and missed out on three-figures in mathematics and science by a solitary mark.
Her father Muthuchamy, used to work as a weaver, but took up daily wage work four years ago as the handloom business plummeted due to power cuts and the scarcity of water.
However, his trade did not fade away as Nithya, who used to observe him at work, took it up.
One of her sisters works in a factory producing chocolates while another is pursuing B Sc from a government arts college.
Explaining the reasons for her success to Express, Nithya said, “My family and teachers constantly encouraged me. My mother would keep me motivated despite hardships with a ever-present smile. I studied up to four hours daily and revised all portions”.
Academics, though, never interfered with her obligations to family. She used to weave on the handloom for up to four hours a day with thread for sarees brought by her father.
“I have produced around 300 sarees till now,” Nithya gleefully declared, adding that she earns about Rs 700 weekly.
Detailing her ambitions, Nithya said she wants to become an IAS officer to serve the poor, who are often overlooked by the government.
While this daughter of a labourer who earns only Rs 140 daily, has a long way to go and probably needs government assistance, her grit and vision are hard to miss as she heads back to a vocation immortalised by Gandhiji.