Teaching Children about Gandhi’s Vision of Swadeshi In Building Aatmnirbhar Bharat

Today we are celebrating Gandhiji’s 151st birth anniversary. It is our moral duty to tell our children about one of his teachings- Swadeshi. Then only we can develop good habits in them right from the start.

“Swadeshi” is a word we have been listening to regularly over the years. On the other hand, “Aatmnirbhar Bharat” is a relatively new term. despite that, the latter has been trending all over the media, be it print, visual or social, and other institutions. When looked closely, both are actually synonyms of each other. Swadeshi was widely popularised by our father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It would be prudent to discuss his view of Swadeshi with our children so that they can connect it to the building of an “Aatmnirbhar Bharat.

Like truth and non-violence, Swadeshi had a spiritual connection to Gandhiji. The British Raaj believed in making India completely reliant on them. This led to the very weakening of the Indian economy. Gandhiji knew that the only way to bring an end to this is by making the people of India self-reliant. Gandhiji’s vision of Swadeshi was building a self-governed, elf-reliant, and self-dependent nation. He used Swadeshi as a tool against the oppression of the Britishers.

Gandhiji hit the very point of Britishers of the principle of mass-production. He was a believer in production for the masses, instead. In his vision, he saw the strengthening of the economic base of the villages. According to his principle, people should produce for themselves and then only sell it to the cities. The concept of self-made goods will ensure dignity for working by hands among themselves.

Gandhiji further insisted that Swadeshi will bring solidarity with oneself, between people to people, people to the nation, and people to nature.

The Swadeshi Movement began in 1905 after the partition of Bengal. This played a pivotal role in the independence of India eventually. Had the Swadeshi Movement not been there, the fight for freedom would have been much more difficult.

Now coming to the building of “Aatmnirbhar Bharat”, the nation is once again looking at the vision of Gandhiji. The recent Coronavirus pandemic has taught us lessons that too much dependence on others always has a negative impact on us. Let us refer to the lockdown scenario now. Scores of workers had to leave their place of work and ply on foot for hundreds of kilometers. This was a shame to the whole of mankind. This situation has raised a very important question- Could the situation have been averted?

The answer to this points to one thing, that we might have forgotten about- Swadeshi. Had the villages in India been self-sufficient and self-supportive, the workers would never have left their homes to earn a livelihood. The government is well aware of this situation and therefore it is urging for building an “Aatmnirbhar Bharat”. The sooner we understand its importance, the faster we can grow our economy.

But, the question still remains- Is it totally the government’s responsibility to implement the doctrines of the Neo-Swadeshi? The answer to this is a big NO. The very mindset of people needs a refresh button. The only positive impact of Coronavirus pandemic is that nature has been able to restore its lost balance. It is time that we bring about yet another major positive impact by implementing the principle of “Aatmnirbhar Bharat”, not only in our work but in our minds as well.

The task seems to be achievable, but when we see local vendors and shopkeepers selling goods by scribbling over, yet visible, “Made in China” tags, the only thought that comes into our minds is- “We have miles to go before we sleep”.

This Gandhi Jayanti, it becomes our moral duty towards the nation to inculcate the views of Swadeshi in building of an “Aatmnirbhar Bharat”.