Bihar has several hidden gems that will constantly surprise you and one such place is the Patna Mahila charkha Samiti. Located in the bylanes of Kadam Kuan, this is the first women’s institution to have come up in Bihar. It was established in 1940 by Prabhavati Devi, a famous freedom fighter and social worker from Bihar.
After receiving training from Mahatma Gandhi at the Sabarmati Aashram, Prabhavati Devi established this institution in Patna to teach women how to use the charkha and earn a living. She not only wanted women to become self-reliant but also wanted them to participate in India’s freedom movement which was at its peak during that time. It was her aim to increase female participation from Bihar in the freedom movement.
Within two years of establishing this institution, she managed to bring together two hundred women from all walks of life. These women participated in the1942 Quit India Movement and showed their participation from Bihar.
Post-independence, Mahila Charkha Samiti expanded its activities and today it offers training to women in music, sewing, pickle and poppadum making and various other skills. Today, the samiti has a sale counter where women sell the items they have made to earn a living. This institution has given livelihood to many women from Bihar and continues to do so.
Prabhavati Devi was married to Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan (popularly known as JP). Both lived on the top floor of this institution and after their death, the floor was converted into a museum, showcasing their personal belongings, letters, gifts received from dignitaries and so on. This museum is definitely worth a visit. You can find letters written by Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi to JP and Prabhavati along with many photos.
My friend Pria and I made a video on this hidden gem in our city. Take a look if you wish to know more about this place and how it looks:
If you are in Patna and you want to go down the history lane, then do visit this place in Kadam Kuan. It will surely take you back in time, giving you a glimpse of the sacrifices hundreds and thousands of men and women made so that we all could live and breathe in a FREE India.
Here are some photos we clicked during our visit: