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  Eleven Vows


Gandhiji called Swadeshi ?the greatest vow for this age.? It is the supreme duty. Gandhiji believed that it is part of the basic nature of man. But it had been forgotten. Hence this vow was considered necessary.

Gandhiji defined Swadeshi as the spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote. It is our first duty to serve our immediate neighbours. They have the first right to our service. This is also in keeping with our natual limitations. This is the way of rendering true service to all.

This principle has very wide implications. To give an example. This principle dictates that we should try to remove poverty and unemployment from our neighbourhood, that is, our village. We should help the neighbours set up productive enterprises. If they lack necessary skills, we should help them acquire those skills. We should purchase and use goods produced by them. If the goods are defective, we should try to remove the defects. This way we can help the members of our community to stand on their legs.

The vow of Swadeshi thus enjoins us to use locally made products of small cottage industries. Gandhiji?s stress on Khadi and village industries has this basis. The principle of Swadeshi can thus make the villages self-sufficient prosperous and self-reliant. It will ensure optimum use of resources. It can reorder society?s life. It can change the society for the better.

Swadeshi does not mean selfishness or callousness about others. It is not against universal love. It does not exclude willing sacrifice of the near and dear ones for the sake of common good. It is not a narrow principle. In fact, it is rooted in non-violence. It shows how non-violence can work in practical affairs. Gita has laid great stress on the performance of ?Swadharma?, that is, our natural duty, which is conducive to our growth. Gandhiji called Swadeshi as Swadharma applied to one?s immediate environment.

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