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SWAGRAMI
"Swagrami is a thoughtful re-interpretation of a great idea (Swadeshi )."
—TN Seshan, former CEC of India

What is Swagrami?
It is a proposed response, to the plight of the rural masses, in the way Gandhiji would have wanted, from those who trusted and followed him. Every concerned person, answering the call of his conscience/soul, is called upon to work in unison with conerned fellow citizens.

It imitates the swadeshi movement that happened before independence and seeks to empower rural India. It was first proposed in a study of farmer suicides in Vidarbha by the participants of the MIT School of Government, in Pune. The report appeared as a book titled “The tragedy of Farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha: A lesson and a Ray of hope” (Rupa, 2009).

What is the core essence of Swagrami?
It is response the Nation of India must give in order to set the wheels of revival of the rural hinterland going. It consists of the Citizens of the nation buying village produce, in order to play a constructive part in the development of villages. Citizens are to patronize village made goods. And simultaneously there is an appeal to the villages to produce goods that are “Clean, Quality and Necessary”.

Is there a patriotic or spiritual dimension to it?
... Yes. It entails a sacrifice on the part of the buyers to opt for produce from villages that could be of lesser quality than machine made products from large companies. And it will both, serve to lighten the spiritual envirionment and it will lead to national progress. It will be the contribution of the citizen towards taking team India along--everyone to the last man.

What is the rationale behind this?
**The present Indian system has accepted one of the variants of capitalism which we now refer to as ‘liberalised’.
**In a capitalist system, the possession of capital/money is a huge plus. Money drives capacity of individuals and teams to survive and thrive in capitalistic societies.
**Money is needed for food, shelter, clothing, health, skills, education and aesthetics.
**If money does not flow into villages it makes them weak and powerless.
**For Village freedom in today's world we must help that flow of resources into the villages. so that rural communities learn to stand on their own feet.

**Capitalism rewards the risk takers with greater control over resources. Money goes to successful entrepreneurs
**Villages must spawn entrepreneurs. Village brands must be developed because the owners of successful brands can bring prosperity to villages. The village community itself should own brands based on its name and geographical location
**This brand building can initially be done by supporting companies that work on value addition of agriculture produce.

**Also, there is masked unemployment in Rural India and it must go.
**More jobs need to be created in the villages.
**There is a need to move people out of agriculture and induct them into services and production.
**With more jobs being created in villages, and with money flowing in, the villages’ chances, to thrive and climb the positive spiral, increases.

**So when rural entrepreneurs take risk they need to be supported and it can be done by the simple step of patronizing their produce.

Does this also make some demands on the Villagers?
** They must focus on producing goods that are “Clean, Quality and Necessary”. This should be their mantra.
**It is important that the Village companies must try and move into self-sustenance mode as quickly as possible and actually compete successfully in the market.
**They must work on their core strengths and look for opportunities where they will have a natural advantage.

Is Swagrami supposed to be a permanent feature?
**The Cycle of prosperity has to start somewhere.
**A Swagrami initiative would be needed to kick start the process…
**As the cycle picks up the villages will become competitive because of Improving transport, cheaper labour, PURA system advantages, Raw materials access, low Land costs and Community support .
**Once the villages become competitive then there would be no need to support them with Swagrami.

Who will make the appeal?
Gandhiji always went inwards and spoke what appealed to his heart. It has to be an appeal that comes from the heart. It is hoped that Gandhians and spiritual leaders of all denominations will spearhead this. May be it will be a coming together of many such people who have already made such appeals in their areas of influence. It only needs to reach Gandhian scale.

How does 'Swagrami' compare with 'Swadeshi' of the freedom struggle?
The following table highlights the salient points


THEN


NOW

SWADESHI

So that Indians could have employment and livelihood and possibility of growth

SWAGRAMI

So that village dwellers will have employment livelihood and growth

PURCHASE KHADI

Sacrificing better quality machine made foreign clothes for hand woven Khadi clothes

PURCHASE VILLAGE PRODUCE

Purchasing Village made goods and goods from small and cottage industries in preference to large company made goods

SATHYAGRAH 

Righteous non-violent action that confronts evil with love

NATION BUILDING

Righteous constitutional action that reaches out a hand to empower fellowmen

KHADI

Produced as a sign of resistance to foreign rule, self-sacrifice in simplicity, sweat of the brow for livelihood

   VILLAGE PRODUCE

Produced as a sign of empowering every villager, self-sacrifice in simplicity, Sweat of the brow giving right livelihood

KHADI PRODUCE

Was not designed to be competitive in the market; It was deliberately supported as a sign of protest.

VILLAGE PRODUCE

Must be designed to be competitive in market using core strengths and village level advantages; Initially needs to be supported to kick start prosperity cycle

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