However hard I tried I've failed to get the exact meaning of tending his spinning wheel here.
It would be argued, and indeed I would argue, that Muslim intransigence would have played a destrucitve role in any case. But the task of persuading ordinary Muslims to leave Congress and to join with the partitionist “Muslim League” was made much easier by Gandhi’s talk of Hinduism and by the long ostentatious hours he spent in cultish practices and in tending his spinning wheel.
This wheel—which still appears as the symbol on the Indian flag—was the emblem of Gandhi’s rejection of modernity. He took to dressing in rags of his own manufacture, and sandals, and to carry- ing a staff, and expressing hostility to machinery and technology.
I gave the previous and following sentences for a full understanding of the meaning.
It mentions the wheel in question in the following sentence and I get it is the actual wheel with the usual sense of the word.
What I wonder is if there is a connotation here which would mean something like "Gandhi cares for his own interests, no matter what"? I'm asking this because we have the same phrase in my native language with the above meaning.
Or, are there any other possible implied meanings -positive or negative- which I fail to see?