Swadeshi movement The Swadeshi movement, part of the Indian independence movement and the developing Indian nationalism, was an economic strategy aimed at removing the British Empire from power and improving economic conditions in India by following the principles of swadeshi (self-sufficiency; Hindi: ??????? svadesi), which had some success. Strategies of the Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products and production processes. The Swadeshi Movement started with the partition of Bengal by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, 1905 and continued up to 1908.
It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian movements. Its chief architects were Aurobindo Ghosh, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai. Swadeshi, as a strategy, was a key focus of Mahatma Gandhi, who described it as the soul of Swaraj (self rule). Gandhi, at the time of the actual movement, remained loyal to the British Crown. History During 1900, Bengal had become the nerve centre for Indian nationalism. To weaken it, Lord Curzon (1899–1905) the Viceroy of India, proposed partition of Bengal.
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The official reason was stated as administrative convenience due to the size of Bengal. But partition itself was based on a religious and political agenda. Bengal was to be divided into two regions i. e. East Bengal and Assam out of the rest of Bengal. Thus to reduce the nationalist movement in Bengal and thereby in the entire country, Bengal partition was to take place on 16 October 1905. H. H. Riseley, home secretary to the government of India, stated on 6 December 1904: “Bengal united is a power; Bengal divided will pull in several different ways.
That is what congress leaders feel; their apprehensions are perfectly correct and they form one of the great merits of the scheme… in this scheme… one of our main objects is to split up and thereby weaken a solid body of opponents to our rule”. So the British tried to curb Bengali influence on nationalist movement and also introduced a new form of division based on religion to create challenges for the Indian National Congress, which was slowly becoming the main opponent to British rule.
But the Indian nationalists saw the design behind partition and condemned it unanimously, starting the anti-partition and the Swadeshi movements. The Swadeshi movement was also known as vandemataram movement in deltaic Andhra Pradesh. Swadeshi movement The proposal of partition of Bengal became publicly known in 1903, followed by immediate and spontaneous protests all over Bengal. 500 meetings were held in East Bengal alone. 50,000 copies of a pamphlet with a detailed critique of partition were distributed.
This phase is marked by moderate techniques of protest such as petitions, public meetings, press campaign, etc. to turn public opinion in India as well as in Britain against partition. This movement also involved the boycott of the British products. The western clothes were thrown in bonfires and it was an act of honour to wear the local Indian clothes. The British products were also boycotted in the markets and the sales of the British fell dramatically. The movement was strongly influenced by the writings of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.