Swaraj: The Essence and Contemporary Relevance for Freedom Fighters in India

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Perspectives of Freedom Fighters on Swaraj and its Contemporary Relevance in India:

Swaraj, a term deeply rooted in the Indian independence movement, holds immense significance beyond its literal meaning of “self-government.” While the concept of Swaraj denotes self-rule, Indian leaders held differing perspectives on its true essence. However, they all united in their struggle and demand for Swaraj from the British Empire in the early 20th century.

This exploration aims to delve into the essence of Swaraj by examining the diverse viewpoints of our freedom fighters and its continued relevance in contemporary India, particularly in addressing issues such as self-reliance.


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 Mahatma Gandhi’s Perspective on Swaraj:

Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of Swaraj draws inspiration from India’s rich heritage. He believed that Swaraj encompassed not only political self-rule or liberation from foreign domination but was a comprehensive concept with social, political, economic, moral, and individual dimensions.

For Gandhi, Swaraj meant establishing a decentralized ideal state where people embraced simplicity, possessed inherent sovereignty, and were free from all forms of domination, oppression, segregation, and discrimination. This vision could be achieved through peaceful, nonviolent means, with active participation from all communities. Gandhi emphasized the revival of khadi and other village-based industries for rural regeneration. At an individual level, Swaraj represented self-control, self-restraint, and self-salvation.

According to Gandhi, “Swaraj would be real Swaraj only when there would be no occasion for safeguarding any rights.” He believed that true Swaraj could be attained through self-discipline, self-reliance, communal harmony, and shared responsibility.


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Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Perspectiveon Swaraj:

Bal Gangadhar Tilak famously declared, “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it.” His concept of Swaraj entailed complete self-government, free from foreign interference. Tilak demanded Swaraj as a right rather than a privilege. While he embraced a militant approach, Tilak also advocated swadeshi (indigenous production), boycotts, passive resistance, national education, and mass participation as means to achieve Swaraj.

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Aurobindo Ghosh’s View on Swaraj:

Aurobindo Ghosh, another staunch proponent of Swaraj, envisioned it as absolute self-government, akin to what existed in the United Kingdom. He believed that settling for anything less than Swaraj would undermine India’s glorious past and hinder its limitless future possibilities. Ghosh saw Swaraj as a righteous end, an essential lifeline for the nation, which encompassed not only individual salvation but also the collective salvation of society.


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Rabindranath Tagore’s Perspective on Swaraj:

Rabindranath Tagore’s notion of Swaraj extended beyond mere political freedom from the British. He envisioned Swaraj as the emancipation of all human beings, with sovereignty residing within the people themselves. Tagore emphasized the moral force of ahimsa (non-violence) as a means to achieve Swaraj.

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Subhash Chandra Bose and Swaraj:

Subhash Chandra Bose staunchly advocated for complete independence from foreign rule. He pursued a more radical and militant path, advocating armed struggle and forming the Indian National Army to fight against the British.

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Jawaharlal Nehru’s Perspective on Swaraj:

Jawaharlal Nehru also sought complete independence from the British Empire. He envisioned a democratic, just, and egalitarian society, underpinned by modern large-scale industries, with a strong focus on science and technology as drivers of national progress. Nehru’s interpretation of Swaraj aligned with a modern society that upholds democracy while relying on robust industrial development.

Despite the differing viewpoints of these freedom fighters, the ultimate goal of Swaraj remained the same: the attainment of freedom, democracy, justice, empowerment, and upliftment for India and its people, devoid of oppression and subjugation.


The Relevance of Swaraj in Contemporary India:

As time progresses, the challenges faced by India continue to evolve. Swaraj, envisioned by our independence leaders a century ago, remains relevant today in addressing the political, economic, social, and cultural challenges of our nation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on a “self-reliant India” and the “vocal for local” initiative aligns with the principles of Swaraj. From an economic perspective, Swaraj promotes local industries, entrepreneurship, research, innovation, and aims to reduce dependency on other nations, fostering a robust, inclusive, and welfare-oriented economy. Socially, Swaraj advocates for local governance, community empowerment, rural development, and the upliftment of marginalized sections of society.

Politically, Swaraj upholds democratic principles, equality, justice, liberty, and the welfare of all citizens while striving to eliminate all forms of domination, discrimination, and oppression. Swaraj embraces the notion of unity in diversity, promotes communal harmony, and strives for the peaceful coexistence of individuals from diverse cultures. Furthermore, Swaraj emphasizes self-control, self-discipline, and self-restraint, which are vital attributes in today’s society.

Therefore, Swaraj offers solutions to the wide-ranging problems faced by contemporary India. To achieve peaceful coexistence and address issues such as communal violence, it is crucial to delve deep into the true essence of Swaraj, which encompasses the well-being and harmonious development of every individual.


“Article Credit- Riya Singh”


Read More: Politics

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