A tribute to Bapu..!
Keep it short and simple, KISS, is often a mantra for successful communication strategy. This even, is applicable to other areas of life! A simple 'charkha' symbolised 'Self-Reliance' and 'Swadeshi' during Independence movement, whereas, in the present context, a small rounded spectacle, symbolises the Government's vision of Swacchh Bharat! They are simple tools with effective impact.
Indian Government, through its various policy initiatives, implementing and trying to realise, the vision of Bapu, which is based on simple ideas of truth, nonviolence, swadeshi and self-reliance! His vision of wacchta, self-reliance, development of 'Bharat', heathy India, khadi etc. have been incorporated in the schemes of Swacchh Bharat, Make In India, Fit India, promotion of naturopathy and Yoga, promotion of khadi as a global brand, etc.
What remained unrealised, till date, was the Bapu's vision of 'Swadeshi' !
Mahatma Gandhi's idea of 'Swadeshi' was based on 'love' and 'compassion'. Bapu while advocating swadeshi, mentioned that, the individual is supposed to serve his/her immediate neighbor, which doesn't mean, disservice to distant people or exclusion of them. According to him, advocating of Swadeshi doesn't mean mere rejection foreign manufactures just because they are foreign. It would be a criminal folly and a negation of Swadeshi spirit, if one is wasting National time and money, for promotion of those manufacturing products, for which it is not suited. A true votary of swadeshi will never harbour ill-will towards the foreigner. Swadeshism, therefore is not a cult of hatred. It is a doctrine of selfless service that has its roots in the purest ahimsa, i.e. Love". This simple Swadeshi message is often been misunderstood, with a narrowed definition of adoption of local goods by rejecting foreign products. This misunderstanding is based on hatred, contrary to Bapu's message of love and compassion. If analysed correctly, we may find replication of Bapu's ideals of 'Swadeshi' in Modiji's 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'! Before that, we may have to understand the context of launch of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'.
The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed the interlinkages between the global world, significantly. The countries which were interlinked and inter-dependent and used to see outward for their local needs, had suffered a blow, due to restricted cross border movement of goods and services at the National level and restrictions even at the state, district and block levels. The global world could not have ever thought of protectionist regime and supporting the cause of domestic products, until the advent of, corona led economic disruption. Encashing on this crisis and transforming it into an opportunity, India has launched the Aatmanirbhar Bharat, recently!
The country with no capability of producing PPE kits and N-95 masks, basic equipments/ weapons, in our fight against covid19 pandemic, till March 2020, had ensured production of 2 lac PPE kits per day and 2 lac N95 masks per day, within 2 months of time, realising its own manufacturing potential! If this could be produced, in-house, during crisis, why not other products? The country fully dependent on imports for these basic pharmaceutical items, became self reliant, within two moths of time. The Government probably, has thought of replicating this success story to other areas, making country Aatmanirbhar for its own requirements.
Aatmanirbhar Bharat, envisages a self-reliant economy, whereby the National needs could be met, domestically. The demand is to be met by the supply created through an enabling environment of 'Aatmanirbharta'. It doesn't mean policy of isolation or protectionism but a policy of support and facilitation to make India, realise its true potential. Like Bapu's Swadeshi, the concept of Aatmanirbhar Bharat' is based on love and compassion for our local products, without any hatred for any imported items. This love, would lead to rise of local brands to the global level. When 130+ billion Indians, become 'vocal' about 'local' products, its sound could be heard globally, placing Indian products, on the global map.
This vocality of local products could be understood from Gandhiji's explanation of Swadeshi, in his following words: "If we follow the swadeshi doctrine, it would be your duty and mine to find out neighbours who can supply our wants and to teach them to supply them, where they do not know how to proceed, assuming that there are neighbours who are in want of healthy occupation."
India while celebrating 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi, during 2020, can't give a better tribute, than the launch and success of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', based on Bapu's vision of 'Swadeshi' and 'self-reliance'. Let's pledge for 'Aatmanirbharata'!
'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light'.
(Santosh Ajmera is Joint Director, Regional Outreach Bureau, I&B Ministry and incharge of publicity & campaign for GOI, in Maharashtra & Goa region; He is also a research fellow under Ministry of AYUSH , on the subject "Gandhi and Communication" ).
Views are strictly personal.