Government, parties fail to address spinners’ plight at Charkha Maidan
The ground which houses 22 spinning wheels has played a crucial role in preserving the art of spinning. Though this maidan has witnessed countless elections, its plight did not change even after the 2014 elections in which the PM won from Varanasi.lucknow Updated: Jan 23, 2017 13:23 IST
Charkha maidan in Shivpurva area of Varanasi has been the refuge of more than 250 Bind spinners for more than half a century. The grounds which house 22 spinning wheels have played a crucial role in preserving the art of spinning. However, the grounds, the spinners and their source of livelihood, the charkhas, are condemned to live in neglect.
Though this maidan has witnessed countless elections, its plight did not change even after the 2014 elections in which the PM won from Varanasi. The grounds and livelihood of the spinners have been threatened numerous times and they want ownership right over the parks.
Dinesh Lal Bind, 25, is an expert spinner who inherited his charkha from his spinner father Munnu Lal four decades ago. “We start spinning at dawn and continue till late noon. I spin rope for weaving cots and fishing nets. A new spinning wheel costs around Rs 3,000 while we earn Rs 200 daily,” Bind says.
Bind, complaining of the lack of facilities at the grounds says, “All parties have ignored us. Governments give weavers a number of facilities but we are not as lucky.”
Channa Lal, a septuagenarian, agrees with Bind. “Both spinning and the maidan are close to our hearts since our forefathers nurtured the art here. We don’t want to give up either. The grounds need to be renovated so that they can be preserved,” says Lal who has recently submitted an application to local MLA Jyotsana Srivastava. He has formed Charakha Shilpi Kalyan Samiti to sensitise local representatives amount the spinners’ plight.
He also mentions that some land sharks were eyeing the grounds a year back. But the local MLA helped the weavers ward off the land mafia.
Srivastava while empathising with them says, “The spinners don’t have ownership of the park. But they have been here for several decades. I wrote to the government when Mulayam Singh Yadav was chief minister requesting that the spinners’ welfare committee be granted the ownership. Later, some MLAs probed the matter and submitted a report to the government. What happened later is not clear.”
Srivastava says she will renovate the park. She will also continue her efforts to secure park ownership for the spinners’ welfare committee so that the art of spinning and the spinners’ employment both are preserved.