03 August, 2021

Swadeshi Movement Part 2

Make in India, or Make for India? The potential for both vitality and confusion mark Aatma Nirbhar Bharat—a salad bowl of many healthy ideas, some of them incompatible.

Illustration by Saahil
Swadeshi Movement Part 2

There is beauty, and a huge blemish, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Aatma Nirbhar Bharat crusade. It appeals to ­different individuals in diverse ways. Some see it as a 21st-century version of Gandhi’s call to embrace swadeshi, an intoxicating cocktail of nationalism, capitalism and globalisation. Others look at it as a magical melting pot for patriotism, self-confidence and national ambitions. In the process, it turns out to be a chaotic and confusing blend of beliefs based on fuzzy logic.

Consider how consumers perceive the ongoing self-reliance campaign. Vijjy, who works with clients in Switzerland, is engrossed by the split within her condominium’s flat owners’ association about whether to buy an Indian or a foreign elevator brand. Sunil, a businessman in his sixties who isn’t active on social media, is ­enthused by the ban on 224 Chinese mobile apps. A part-time investor, Deepak, is excited by the huge foreign inflows from Google and Facebook in the post-Covid period.


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