Gandhiji called Swadeshi ?the greatest vow for this age.? It
is the supreme duty. Gandhiji believed that it is part of the basic nature
of man. But it had been forgotten. Hence this vow was considered necessary.
Gandhiji defined Swadeshi as the spirit in us which restricts us to the
use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the
more remote. It is our first duty to serve our immediate neighbours. They
have the first right to our service. This is also in keeping with our
natual limitations. This is the way of rendering true service to all.
This principle has very wide implications. To give an example. This principle
dictates that we should try to remove poverty and unemployment from our
neighbourhood, that is, our village. We should help the neighbours set
up productive enterprises. If they lack necessary skills, we should help
them acquire those skills. We should purchase and use goods produced by
them. If the goods are defective, we should try to remove the defects.
This way we can help the members of our community to stand on their legs.
The vow of Swadeshi thus enjoins us to use locally made products of small
cottage industries. Gandhiji?s stress on Khadi and village industries
has this basis. The principle of Swadeshi can thus make the villages self-sufficient
prosperous and self-reliant. It will ensure optimum use of resources.
It can reorder society?s life. It can change the society for the
Swadeshi does not mean selfishness or callousness about others. It is
not against universal love. It does not exclude willing sacrifice of the
near and dear ones for the sake of common good. It is not a narrow principle.
In fact, it is rooted in non-violence. It shows how non-violence can work
in practical affairs. Gita has laid great stress on the performance of
?Swadharma?, that is, our natural duty, which is conducive to
our growth. Gandhiji called Swadeshi as Swadharma applied to one?s