Swadeshi Movement

An important aspect of the Swadeshi Movement was the great emphasis given to self-reliance or “Atmasakti” as a necessary part of the struggle against the Government. What was the nature of “Atmasakti” and how successful was it in its objective during the movement? Examine. (200 Words)

Greater emphasis on self-reliance or Atmashakti is one of the few important methods of struggle against the government during Swadeshi Movement. Self-reliance in various fields implied the re-assertion of national dignity and self-respect.
Nature of Self-Reliance work:
  • Social and economic regeneration of the villages : As part of social regeneration, campaign against evils such as caste oppression, dowry system early marriage and consumption of alcohol etc. Effort to setup swadeshi or indigenous enterprise. Ex: Acharya P.C. Ray’s Bengal chemical factory.
  • Swadeshi Education: One of the major works is promoting Swadeshi education. National council of Education was setup to intensify these efforts. Primary education in vernacular language was encouraged and for technical education Bengal technical institute was established
How far it is successful?
Atmasakti could instil confidence among the Indians by undermining their perception of inferiority about their own culture and superiority of white man. Atmasakti helped in expanding the base of Swadeshi movement by bringing many sections who were hitherto untouched under its fold.
But the split of congress, exile of extremist leaders and lack of effective organization caused a severe blow to the movement. The movement slowly declined by time.
However, the new ideas, methods of mass mobilization and the spirit of movement served as an inspiration for the upcoming successful national movement.