Rebecca M. Brown; Spinning without Touching the Wheel: Anticolonialism, Indian Nationalism, and the Deployment of Symbol. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 August 2009; 29 (2): 230–245. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-2009-006
For the nationalist movement in early-twentieth-century India, the practice of spinning each day and the symbol of the spinning wheel served, together, to unify an extremely diverse nation in ways that earlier movements (notably the 1905–11 Bengal-centered swadeshi movement) had not. While certainly both khadi (homespun cloth) and clothing were central for the nationalist movement, this article instead investigates the distinct visual imagery of spinning. It argues that this very particular visual symbol effectively consolidated nationalist discourse in ways controversial khadi could not.