What were the impacts of the Swadeshi and Boycott movements in India?
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Swadeshi and Boycott movement are two sides of the same coin or the same social and political movement. It was a movement planned, launched and directed by Mahatma Gandhi as an economic strategy to improve the economic conditions of the artisans in India. Conditions of artisans in India had become extremely precarious because of combined effect of competition from manufactured goods imported from Britain and unfair policies and practices imposed by the British on India, that were designed to benefit the British business at the cost of Indians.
Swadeshi in Hindi language means "of ones own country". It refers to the core strategy of the movement of using only the goods manufactured in India., and boycotting or refusing to use imported goods. I am not sure what reasoning Mahatma Gandhi used in formulating this strategy. But now with our advanced knowledge of economic concepts like opportunity cost and cost-benefit analysis, we know that this strategy made a very good economic sense. It provided the poor artisans a means to earn a livelihood. At the same time it helped the entire economy of the country. These benefits were obtained in spite of the lower market price of manufactured goods imported from Britain. In addition to helping the Indian economy, this strategy reduced the benefits British could extract by exploiting India. In this way it reduced the determination of Britain to hold on to their rule over India.
The swadeshi movement directly benefited the local artisans and industries in India, and gave a boost to Indian Economy. In addition it infused a spirit of nationalism among Indians. Particularly the Khadi movement, which formed a part of swadeshi movement made a major contribution in this direction. Khadi refers to coarse hand woven cloth made from hand spun yarn, and this movement involved wearing only such cloth. This movement gave Indians a means for giving vent to their nationalistic feeling, as well as a visible symbol of their determination to defy the British. This helped to build a large and strong community of Indians openly displaying their defiance and determination.
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