Swadeshi means ‘own country’ or ‘built in our country’. In a broader sense, born in a geographical area, manufactured goods, policies, ideas. The Swadeshi movement gained a lot of strength from the anti – Bangladesh revolt of 1905, which lasted until 1911. It was one of the most successful Swadeshi movements before Gandhiji made his debut in India.
Today in the field of medicine, in the field of space, we have flagged our success in the world. Still, our exports are not increasing and dependence on imports continues. Our progress in all these areas is not due to foreign investment and globalization but because of our resources, our scientists and excellent human resources. Today, when all countries like America and Europe are going through a severe economic crisis, the only option to survive is the economic development on the basis of Swadeshi in India.
Economic dimension of Swadeshi
Gandhiji was convinced that the deep poverty prevailing among masses was mainly due to the ruinous departure from the path of swadeshi in the economic and industrial life. Gandhiji advocated that one who follows the spirit of swadeshi should use only things that are produced by our immediate neighbour and serve those industries by making them efficient, and strengthen them in areas where they are found deficient. Economic salvation of India consists in encouraging and reviving indigenous industries.
We have the challenge of huge population and soon we are going to top the list. Looking from another perspective, we are going to top the list of becoming biggest consumer in the world i.e. mass production in the country will most probably find the customer easily and hence opens up a lot of opportunity for Local Production or Swadeshi.
Then India will almost be a self-supporting and self-contained unit. In such an economic system there will be an organic relationship between production, distribution and consumption.
The only way to save the rupee and to prevent its free fall is to start practising swadeshi all over again. The question that we should ask ourselves today is: cannot good quality products be produced in the country that we have to spend precious foreign exchange to import them?
Political dimension of Swadeshi
The Swadeshi movement was an economic strategy aimed at removing the British Empire from power and improving economic conditions in India. The application of swadeshi in politics calls for the revival of the indigenous institutions and strengthening them to overcome some of its defects.
The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ all speaks of Self-reliance. The Self-reliance is an approach towards strengthening India’s status at the International forum.
The Swadeshi not only improves the economic independence of a country but also improves the political strengths and independence. The growth beyond boundary is possible only for a self-reliant country. Today, we see the changing diplomatic relationship between countries and its impact on the world economy and in such scenario, it is important to maintain the dominating position at International level.
Social dimension of Swadeshi
Originally, Indian social structure was divided and purely based on duties performed by different sections of people. The concept ensured true division of labour and mass production. This improved the workmanship, perfection and speed of work. Same concept was redefined in Gandhiji’s Swadeshi movement and now in ‘Vocal for Local’.
The social upliftment is truly dependent on our self-reliance. India being a very populous nation, there is a need to have avenues for more employment opportunities and this is only possible if more and more production units are set up within the boundaries.
Applying swadeshi with ‘Vocal for Local’ would create a sense of belongingness and will help in binding the nation together with a unique spirit.
Squadron Leader Anuradha Thakur (Retd), Director of Prian Energy LLP, Pune, India