Source: Telegraph India
KUKUDAKHANDI, INDIA, October 2, 2001: To honor Mahatma Gandi, the spinning of cotton on charkhas, the small hand spinning wheel popularized by Gandhi, has been recognized by the Olympic Association of Berhampur as a sport. Ranging in age from 11 to 99 years of age, over 70 women gathered in the village of Kukudakhandi to participate in the event. Ninety-nine-year old P.Chinnamma said, "she had started spinning on the charkha from the age of 20 years. She recalled the days when spinning on the charkha was considered a holy duty by the Mahatma." Presently the Orissa government has ignored the plight of charkha spinners who are forced to sell premium quality thread to handloomers in Andra Pradesh. By declaring charkha spinning an olympic event, this may be the impetus needed for the government to recognize the art and the community of Patasila in Kukudakhandi may receive a handloom unit in their village.