The Swadeshi Movement (1903-1908)
The Swadeshi Movement was not a simply a movement which took place but it is also a probative, for the participation of people from different backgrounds that is from different classes of people from elite to poor , students, adult, old , man and women had actively participated in politics.
The swadeshi Movement had its commence in the anti-partition movement which was started against British decision for the partition of Bengal.
What was the main motive behind the partition of Bengal.
- First it was to curb Bengali influence.
- Second was to boost another kind of division that was on the basis of religion. It was to support Muslim by alluring them for giving eastern Bengal.
The real motive behind partition of bengal was political. And to be safe from growing influence of Indian nationalism. The Indian nationalist and leaders recognized their main intention and impound them unitedly.
In Dec 1903 the partition proposal was known publicly. After this protest took place, meeting were held at different places. Many eminent leader actively participated and leader like Surendranath banerjea, krishna kumar mitra and other leader launched a powerful campaign through newspapers and journals. Despite of protest, partition of Bengal was announced on 19th july 1905. After this they realised that the moderate method was not working out. So, meeting were held at different places such as Pabna, Faridpur, Jessore etc were boycott of foreign goods was first taken.
The proclamation of Swadeshi movement was made on 7th Aug 1905 in a meeting held at calcutta hall. But still government announce the partition on 16th oct 1905. And thus this day was declared as day of mourning in Bengal. The message of Swadeshi and boycott of foreign goods was soon spread to rest part of the country. Leaders like lala lajpat rai, Ajit singh, Chidambaram pillai, Bipin chandra pal etc participated for spreading the movement in rest part of the country. Apart from boycott of foreign goods ,boycott of government schools and college,courts, titles and government services and organization of strike was held. Boycott of foreign goods, public burning of foreign clothes, picketing of shop selling foreign goods common part of Bengal and many parts of country. Various procession and meeting were organized at disitrict, taluqa and village level.The swadeshi Bandhab Samiti set up by Ashwini Kumar Dutt, a school teacher, in Barisal was the most well know volunteer organization of them all. The Swadeshi period also saw the creative use of festival and melas as a mean of reaching out to masses. The Ganpati and Shivaji festival was popularized by Tilak became a medium for swadeshi propaganda not only in western part but also other part of India and Bengal.
Importance was given to Atamshakti or self reliance in swadeshi moment against the British government. Self reliance means an effort to set up swadeshi or indigenous enterprise. So many mills, shops banks etc were started during this time. The main drawback o this swadeshi movement was it failed to get support from the Muslims. As British had already sowed the seeds of communalism between them in Bengal. The movement also lose it grip due to the following reasons the government started repressing the meetings, procession and press etc. Secondly internal problems like splitting of congress, the apex all India organization, weakened the movement. many parts of the country was still not prepared to adopt the new style and stage of politics. Many great leaders took retirement some were deported while some were arrested. So the movement became leaderless. The next reason was that movement lacked in affective party structure and organization.
But above all these factors Swadeshi movement had contributed in idea of nationalism. The swadeshi movement also evolved different ideas and ways and technique and mass practice though it was failed to put it successfully. Thus we can say that Swadeshi movement was the first chapter of struggle which showed the way for freedom struggle which we can get unitedly.