This article is about the world’s first yarn spinning tool, Takali/Takli spindle, its significance in the world of textiles and remembering Takli as a symbol of wisdom and invention for entrepreneurship.
I am overwhelmed with feelings since a couple of days. I am excited. I am curious. I am proud. I feel awesome and at the same time, I feel cheated. Let me tell you why is this happening and I think, it is important to share this with you all.
It is a long story of thought processing for independence day topic, of fixing my Appa’s old broken Takli, and of the research about Takli, the unremembered pride of India; all inviting flooding thoughts. Here, the story of my Appa’s Takali is important in understanding what today’s generation may feel connecting to an unknown pride of past.
The story of old broken Takali of my Appa
I was looking for a topic to share on Independence Day. Just last week we had celebrated India Handloom day and I wished to write something about handloom.
Without knowing my thoughts, Amma casually talked about the ‘Takali’ in my study room that she had seen. Takali is the name of a hand spinning spindle in Kannada. It is a wooden stick Takali of my Appa’s possession. Appa gave it to me almost a decade ago. I remembered the Takali song and Takali picture in an old kannada text-book. I was curious about its working. Appa had explained Takali spinning but I didn’t understand then. May be I wasn’t determined. Takali remained to be a show piece in my bookshelf.
I didn’t even think of Takali for my blog post. Do people know about it? Does it have any importance? I didn’t know. I was thinking of sharing the details of Charaka, a proud invention of India which is popular across the world. Then I realized, the photos and videos of Charkha took at Khadi Utsav are in Bengaluru, in our old laptop, while I am holidaying in native. Sigh! Charaka topic is for some other time.
But then, a thought came… Takali! Can I write about it? I thought I could write a paragraph on it sharing it as a local spindle. Hoorah! I was excited that I got my blog post topic! But, when I saw, the Takali’s hook was broken. I started running behind Appa seeking help. Appa searched for the forgotten Takali in the shops that sell old goodies. Takali was nowhere found. Appa promised he would repair the old one for me.
Meantime, I googled to know if Takali is known to anybody. I was astonished to see that the long forgotten pride of India, Takali is known as Takli/Tahkli and is popularly used in foreign countries. There are videos of Takli spinning uploaded in the YouTube too! A Takli world was unfolding in front of me!
With mixed feelings, I joined Appa to repair the Takali.
Takali/Takli/Tahkli – The History, Untold
A Takli is a simple hand spinning tool, a spindle, invented in India centuries ago, which has a hooked stick to guide the spinning yarn and a heavy flat circular disc to hold the spun yarn. The pointed base fecilitates spinning.
At this point, I am excited to know that Bharatiyas had invented Takali/Takli/Tahkli spindle, a simple hand machine for spinning and spun the textile world centuries ago! I am curious about how the inventions like Takli and Charaka were made by ancestral Bharatiyas and made every Bharatiya independent and confident entrepreneurs. Probably the joint family system strengthened their business.
I am proud that India was known as ‘Sone ki Chidia’ (Golden Bird) of the textile world and that even today, world follows our age-old yet never ageing technology! Yes, today’s automated industrial spinning machines follow the technology of Takali/Takli and Charaka. It is mentioned in Wikipedia that the spinning wheels were first used in India. I doubt if this information is added in the syllabus of textiles studies in any Indian university.
Today, I feel awesome owning a Takli, it’s a priceless possession for me!
But, I feel cheated because we were uninformed about our ancestral knowledge and inventions. I feel cheated by those selfish Indians who tried to disconnect us from our rich heritage. We were told that few foreigners came here to trade, ruled us. That they said, we are uneducated, we believed. That they said our technologies are poor, we believed. Can we believe this story? How is it possible to change the thinking of entire nation? It is not them, but it is the selfish Indians who made us believe in the myth. It is our own fellow Indians who betrayed us and it was our own weakness to believe it all.
There is, probably, a story of forgotten Takli in every Bharatiya’s house. Could we bring it back to every kid? Could we bring back the Takli in every child’s hand? Could we make them feel proud and inspired? Could we take time to spin Takli to understand what it costs to spin a yarn?
Realization is the greatest strength. We have understood our faults, now we can rectify them. On the occasion of independence day, I am thinking of the connection between independence and Takli. Can the inventions of our ancestors like Takli and Charaka remind us about our strengths? Can they motivate youth for entrepreneurship? Can they help freedom to prosper in the true sense again? We have to think.
Happy independence day to all!