Swaraj – UPSC GS1

What did Swaraj mean to the leaders of India‘s national movement? Has this meaning been realised in true sense? Critically comment. (200 Words)

Swaraj is the idea of Self Rule: A form of governance where the common man takes decisions for himself and the society’s benefit. Technically, we attained the philosophy of Swaraj when we transformed ourselves into a sovereign, democratic, republic out of a colonial state. Yet, the basic tenet as enshrined by our freedom makers still remains distant. Here’s how
  1. For Gandhiji, Swaraj meant dissolution of power to the Panchayats- 73rd amendment of the constitution has done that legally. Yet, in practice panchayats suffer from political patronage, paucity of funds & absence of power
  2. For Ambedkar, Swaraj meant liberation of the downtrodden. But, even now, the poor castes suffer from direct and indirect forms of untouchability and dilipidated economic conditions
  3. Women freedom fighters envisioned Swaraj for the other sex. Yet, our society continues to remain patriarchal in mindset, and heinous crimes against women are common practice.
  4. Gandhiji also sought to have an economic Swaraj where the poor villages were to be the centers of manufacturing indigenous goods providing employment to all. This dream continues to elude us, in the face of migration, and luxurious imports.
It is this social and economic dimension, as mentioned in the Directive Principles of State Policy, that the government and citizens must aspire to, to truly fulfil the dreams of our freedom fighters.



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