Posted by : Sainadh Reddy Thursday, 12 July 2012
In 1993, “Swadeshi” has become a queer term.
A common man on the street is fairly familiar with its connotation.
But for uncommon men this is an unknown commodity. For sophisticated, air-conditioned elite of the metropolitan cities the concept is strange – an oddity in the midst of modernism.
For “kept” economists of the regime, it is a red rag.
And for the ruling politicians, a bull in their china shop.
So the abuses like ‘obscurantism’, ‘anachronism’, etc, are being used to condemn the idea irreconcilable with the luxurious fashions.
What is most important is not the future of the country, but the immediate comforts of the westernized urban elite.
These uncommon citizens are not in contact with the earth, they are in their own ivory towers, cut off from the national realities and alienated from their co-countrymen.
Fortunately, the number of such persons is extremely limited – not even one per cent of the total population of this poor country.
It is wrong to presume that ‘Swadeshi’ concerns itself only with the goods or services. That is more an identical aspect. Essentially, it concerns the spirit determined to achieve national self-reliance, preservation of national sovereignty and independence, and the Britishers to restrain their head of the state from purchasing a luxurious German Mercedez Benz car, for her personal use. When asked by Indian correspondent as to why he was using a pant torn (and stitched) because of the weak texture of the Vietnamese cloth, Ho Chi-Minh smilingly replied, “My country can afford only this much.” When the U.S. forced Japan to give market access to its Californian oranges, Japanese customers did not purchase a single Californian orange and thus rendered the American arm-twisting a ridiculous affair.
When the governments of china and Korea prevented the entry of Michael Jackson in their countries on the ground that his performance amounted to ‘cultural invasion’, they only demonstrated their Swadeshi spirit. Incidentally, this only demonstrated ‘Swadeshi’ was not merely an economic affair confined to material goods but a broad-based ideology embracing all departments of national life. Needless to multiply such incidents. The point is that all these patriots from different countries drew their inspiration from the ‘Swadeshi’ spirit.
‘Swadeshi’ is the outward, practical manifestation of patriotism. Patriotism is not considered as isolationism – particularly in our tradition which stands for internal humanism according to which, on the level of human consciousness, internationalism is the further flowering of the spirit of nationalism. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that presenting patriotism as isolationism is the end of the second world war it became obvious that under the pressure of the international situation the imperialists would be forced to grant independence to their colonies, they started ‘operation salvage’ to preserve as much of their vested interests in the colonies as possible, under the changed circumstances. In Bharat, some Executive Councilors of the viceroy became their tools. Misrepresenting the move for full-fledged independence as isolationism, Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar propagated that in the new independence.” Dr. Manmohan Singh’s plea for liberalization and globalization is the modern version of Ramaswami’s ‘independence’.
Patriots are not against internationalism. Their plea for national self-reliance is not incompatible with international co-operation, provided that the later is on equal footing – with due regard to the national self-respect of every country. Their difference of opinion with the advocates of ‘globalisation’ is on a different and more basic point.
Proponents of Swadeshi are not prepared to endorse the view that the western paradigm is the universal model of progress and development worthy of being followed by all the peoples of the world. While they recognize the fact of cultural intercourse, they insist that every people have each their own distinct culture, and the model of progress and development for each country should be consistent with its own cultural ethos. Westernization is not modernization. Modernization should be in keeping with the spirit of national culture. They oppose the move for steam-rolling all the various cultures and national identities in the world in favour of the west.
Introduction of modern technology and economic system is the inauguration of an entirely new civilization, inconsistent with the nature of all non-western cultures. This is the basic point of difference.
Nevertheless, Americanized Indians are condemning Swadeshi Jagaran Manch on the plea that Swadeshi is the antithesis of the ‘sacred’ and universally-accepted principle of ‘Free-Trade’ which is being recognized and followed by all the countries.
By: DATTOPANT THENGADI