The blind man’s intitiative appealed to me. I had seen him often getting into the local subruban train at Elphinstone station and go up to Mahalaxmi, singing a song or two and extending his hand for alms. I have no liking for beggars and hated giving them alms but the blind man was an exception. So it was a great surprise to me that day when I saw him in the role of a travelling salesman…..I thought I ought to buy something from him. So I asked him what the blades were like and were they good enough. “Oh! come,Sir, buy Swadeshi, may be they are not like those foreign ones, not yet, but they are cheap and quite good just the same.” I bought a packet of ten for four annas.

..Thanks to the dwindling resources, the Government had to resort to severe restrictions on our imports; a blessing to the Indian indigenous industry. It is not just blades alone. All the imported consumer goods have already gone into the black market, sky-rocketing the prices in the wake of Government announcement. And many of these things we can do away with….And so far as the consumer’s taste is concerned the trader takes pride in displaying his wares as foreign-made –English, American, German, Japanese, Russian and what not – and hardly anything Indian. Exploitation of the innate inferiority complex and snobbery of our countrymen. Now that the country cannot afford the luxury of importing the non-essential things it is time the people look to the indigenous industry to cater to their needs. I wish I could say there should be a total ban on imports. The need cannot be put off, it has got to be met. The blind man is right. No more begging for him. He has given a meaning to his life by hawking just Indian goods. And he

speaks for the nation.

(KOKA, From An Easy Chair, October 5, 1957.)

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