Prasanna, a legendary theatre artist insists that he is a ‘city-tenant’. However, he has dwelled in a small village called Heggodu for the last 25 years. The village is located in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district. The former IITian believes that one day every machine on the planet will be dismantled. The 71-year-old is usually wearing a long kurta and grayish veshti. Furthermore, his unkempt, streaming white beard shows hints of his morning meal of avalakki and upma.
In the Malnad area, Prasanna is worshipped like a sage by the theater community. He studied at National School of Dramatization. Moreover, his book Indian Method in Acting is a veritable reading material to many. However, 25 years back Prasanna quit theater. He was motivated by Gandhian lessons and established the Shramajeevi Ashram, the Charaka. It is a dynamic rural khadi co-operative, managed entirely by local women. The ashram and weavers have the distinction of having resuscitated conventional coloring systems.
What’s more, Prasanna is pleased that the 30,000 meters of khadi created in the ashram have utilized no machines.
“When I came here, agriculture was the only means of livelihood. Areca farms and overgrazing were eating into the hills and forests. Farm workers from marginalized castes were at the mercy of the landlords. I wanted Charaka to draw the poor out of agriculture,” says Prasanna. The test included making an expanded Gandhian town economy. The endeavor was to prepare Dalit ladies and ladies from other marginalized sections in new productive skills. Be that as it may, this was a district with no weaving convention. However, this enraged members of dominant castes. They got annoyed by Prassana’s investigations that denied them of cheap labor hands. Furthermore, they even vandalized Charaka’s office.