What were the impacts of the Swadeshi and Boycott movements in India? Please answer this question with as much detail as possible.

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The Swadeshi and Boycott movements helped Indians regain a sense of pride and autonomy that helped pave the way for India to become an independent country after World War II. For many years, Indian pride had been broken by the rule of the Raj or British, who looked down on the Indians and in every way promoted British and western culture as superior while exploiting the country and the people on a massive scale.

Gandhi organized the Indian people to boycott imported, foreign-made goods. As is often the case with colonies like India, their raw materials were sold abroad at very low cost and then the materials fashioned into finished goods imported back into the country and sold at high cost. Gandhi wanted the people to regain control over their lives and encouraged them to boycott or not buy imports and to make their own goods, particularly to weave their own cloth.

We have seen similar movements in the United States as this country dealt with the impact of globalization: Buy American was an attempt from the 1970s to keep manufacturing jobs in the States by encouraging people  to buy only US-made clothing and cars.

Gandhi was ahead of his times in the Swadeshi movement by having people weave cloth on hand looms in their homes. At the time, photographer Margaret Bourne White had a debate with Gandhi in which she ridiculed the idea of home industry. Instead, she said, Gandhi should be encouraging large, heavy industry to come into the country, such as the kind of big steel plants she had photographed in the Soviet Union. This would, she argued, quickly jolt the country into the modern age. Gandhi disagreed, saying such huge works projects would fail, as India was not ready for them. History has proven Gandhi right, and today we embrace what is called micro-enterprise as a key to raising living standards in the Third World.

The greatest impact of both movements was to instill in a people used to abjection and loss of self-worth a sense that they could be the masters of their own destiny and run their own country without need for the British. This, as noted above, made independence more possible.

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The Swadeshi movement (which means "from one's own country"), part of the Indian Independence Movement, involved the Indian boycott of British goods and the increasing reliance on goods made in India to weaken the British hold on the country. Though the Swadeshi movement had been active earlier, it was popularized by Gandhi from 1918 until Indian independence. It was designed in part to weaken the Manchester cotton industry that enjoyed a large market in Bengal and to bring back domestic Indian industries. As part of the boycott, many foreign goods were burned, and British cotton was boycotted, as were British sugar and salt, among other products. It became a badge of honor to wear homespun Indian clothing.

Though it is difficult to measure the economic effect of the Swadeshi and Boycott movements precisely, they likely caused a decline in the importation of British cotton for about two to three years. The larger effect was to awaken all sectors of the Indian society, particularly in Bengal (which became the epicenter of Indian nationalism), to fight for independence. In these movements, all kinds of people in India had the opportunity to take part and be moved toward a sense of Indian nationalism. 

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