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Modern History / National Movement

Swadeshi and Boycott Movement


    The Swadeshi Movement is also called Vandemataram Movement. It started in 1905 and ended in 1908. It was an anti-partition movement led by Extremist leaders against partition of Bengal. The theme song of the Movement was Vande Mataram (song from the novel Anandamath, which written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee). The British created a scene that East Bengal was meant for Muslims so that they can be empowered politically and termed the Congress as a Hindu Party.

    Importance of Swadeshi Movement

    • On 16th October, 1905, Raksha Bandhan Day was observed as per the advice of Rabindranath Tagore. On this occasion, Rabindranath Tagore wrote about the greatness of Bengali, "Amar Sonar Bangla ……". This is the National Anthem of Bangladesh now.

    • People of India boycotted the British goods.

    • Doctors and Lawyers refused to offer services.

    • Swadeshi stores were started, wherein only purely indigenous products were sold. Bengal Swadeshi Chemical Store was started by P.C. Ray in Calcutta, with the financial assistance of Rabindranath Tagore.

    • People of India boycotted educational institutions. National colleges and schools were started. In Calcutta, Bengal National College was started with Aurobindo Ghosh as the Principal, with Santiniketan as model. Satish Chandra Mukherjee started an organization called "Dawn society" which set up a network of schools and colleges.

    • Yuvajana Samitis were formed through which the above activities were carried out. For example, Swadesh Bandhab Samiti was founded by Ashwini Kumar Dutta at Barisal with 500 branches throughout Bengal.

    Leaders of Swadeshi Movement

    • In Bengal, the leaders were Bipin Chandra Pal, Ashwini Kumar Dutta and Aurobindo Ghosh

    • In Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai and Sardar Ajit Singh

    • In Bombay, leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak

    • In Delhi and Jammu, Syed Haider Raza

    • In Madras, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, who started out Swadeshi Steam Navigation company at Tuticorin.

    Causes of Failure of Swadeshi Movement

    • In 1908, Swadeshi Movement got declined and finally disappeared. The main reason was being Government Suppression

    • Movement of leaders were restricted

    • During the movement, there was split in Congress

    • By 1908, the movement was leaderless. Leaders were put into bars, Aurobindo Ghosh turned Swamiji, Bipin Chandra Pal retired from politics.

    • Muslims opposed the movement. Minto asked Muslims to form a separate political party.

      In Decmeber, 1906, All India Muslim League party was formed in Dhaka. A group of aristocrats formed the party. They were Nawab Salimullah Khan (Nawab of Dhaka), Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Agha Khan (first President) and Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk.