Guiding Light: Aatmanirbharta – Self-Reliance

Guiding Light: Aatmanirbharta – Self-Reliance

Swami Brahmavidananda SaraswatiUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 09:52 PM IST
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Why are we buying apples from US and New Zealand when good Kashmiri apples are available? | Representative Image/Pixabay

At the height of the freedom movement, one of the strategies used by Mahatma Gandhi was the call for Swadeshi — local goods, when they actually burnt tons of British fabrics. Such a drastic action was necessary. However, Gandhiji must be having the last laugh when the current British Prime Minister calls for a similar movement in the UK by saying ‘Buy British, not imports.’

This lesson of self-reliance is a valuable one, highlighted by our prime minister some years ago by calling it as Aatma-nirbharta or Self-reliance. Self-reliance is generally presented as a spiritual value for the seeker of the truth. It is a valid value that helps one grow. The same thing applied in a socio economic context will become, ‘Buy local Go vocal.’

If we want the country's economy to develop, we need to buy what our local manufacturers and farmers produce. Why are not the farmers getting their worth? Why are we buying apples from US and New Zealand when good Kashmiri apples are available? Similarly, there are other products also which are equally good and available. ‘Buy local’ initiative has to be helped by the government. Tesla was given a clean mandate: If you want to sell your cars in India, manufacture them in India. Do not manufacture it in China and sell it in India. It could have been seen as a win-win situation in that they manufacture cars here, they sell it here and they make their money. Indians get employment and cars, which are cheaper without import duty. With all this self-reliance, there has to be a sufficient demand for quality products. Otherwise, the manufacturers will not have any incentive to make good quality products like in the days of social selling in India, where car manufacturers produced Fiats and Ambassadors of poor quality. So, with the demand for quality, a limited amount of imports and increasing self-reliance, going ‘vocal for local’ can develop the local economy, especially in India. It is a spiritual value applied to the socio-economic scene.

The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at aarshavidyaf@gmail.com

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