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Gandhi and Swadeshi

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  • Published
    28th Dec, 2019
  • Gandhian concept of Swadeshi was a result of long-observed and well-thought out process.
  • Swadeshi got its first mention in 1905 and last in 1947. According to Gandhi, swadeshi carries a great and profound meaning. It is not merely the use of what is produced in one’s own country….another meaning implied in it which is far greater and much more important. Swadeshi means reliance on our own strength.
  • He considered swadeshi as the key to economic salvation of Indian and declared law of Swadeshi as the law of laws. Gandhi’s idea of Swadeshi him to his ideal village.
  • Acharya Kripalani understood Swadeshi as a universal phenomenon. According to him even in countries, believing in Lassier-Fair an unwritten law of swadeshi was observed.
  • For Gandhian economist J.C. Kumarappa cottage industry’ was not merely a method of production but stood for a type of economy as its integral partvalues and valuation was the pair that drew the chariots of Human Progress.
  • Gandhi’s associate Narhari Parikh in the Manav Arthshastra argued that the concept of Swadeshi was one of the pillars of Gandhian ideology.
  • It opposed large-scale production. Agriculture was primary occupation and source of income, and village industries played a supportive role.
  • The fundamental point is to have development from below and from self-sustaining local production systems using, if necessary, appropriate technologies. Swadeshi meant local for basic needs and self-reliance.

Importance of Swadeshi in Present Times

  • The market-dominated try to maximise material prosperity. Globalization for the world means adopting the GDP growth paradigm as practiced and favoured by the advanced economies.
  • It simply ignores environmental and ecological ethics in production and consumption. Voluntary poverty of Gandhi meant that the haves’ of the society should restrict their consumption moderated by ascetic and paternalistic values.
  • For Gandhi, village-level self-sufficient was providing maximum opportunity for production at local level. His self-reliance would produce the necessities of life by one’s own labour or produce goods that could be exchanged for necessities.
  • For Gandhi, local requirements provided the key. Limitation of wants would provide signal to producer and the system of production would guide the consumer.  
  • Prosumer is the word used by Alvin Toffler when he talks about the third wave. A prosumer is both producer and consumer.
  • For Gandhi, the ideal of economic constitution of India “can be universally realised only if the means of production of elementary necessities of life remains under the control of masses.”
  • Gandhi discovered and articulated the principles for an alternative and humane economy where the doctrine of Swadeshi was in centre.
  • Keeping individual at the centre, he believed in one’s moral development; reflected in human dignity by limiting conspicuous consumption and decentralised production system to seek a life with self-esteem and a genuinity meanings. At least Indian Humanity needs to give it a try.
  1. Providing Food To Hungry Stomachs
  • To nurture the spirit of Swadeshi one could keep on working together with his neighbour and do business Things which we can produce in the country should not be imported from abroad.
  • Negative Impact of Import:  At present, import has laid a major impact on the economy of our country. Latest in this context is the example of Agarbatti manufacturing industry in India, which has been one of the core village industries in the country since time immortal. 
  • Khadi's Agarbati units were gasping to breathe prior to 29th august this year, when these items were brought in Restricted Bracket of import.
  • Notably, Khadi has undertaken a Bamboo Plantation Drive across the country to reduce India's dependency of import in Agarbatti Industry and to create millions of local employment - which is the core aim of Gandhian philosophy of Swaraj and Sadeshi.

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