Swadeshi Movement: Leaders, Timeline, History

3 minute read

The beginnings of the Swadeshi Movement was a turning event which lasted for 6 years in the history of India. In July 1905, Lord Curzon issued an order of partition for Bengal into two parts: Assam and East Bengal, which had a population of 31 million people, and the rest of Bengal, which had a population of 54 million people. 

A movement resulting from the Bengal partition gave a call for passive resistance i. e Swadeshi Boycott, etc. In 1906 during the Calcutta Session of Congress, Dadabhai Naoroji, the then president of INC passed several resolutions which included Swadeshi, Boycott, Swaraj, etc. And in the next year i.e. in 1907, the Indian national movement took a gigantic step with women, students, and different segments of the urban and rural population of Bengal and other regions of India coming forward and taking active participation in politics for the first time in the century.

Places and Leaders

Tilak called the movement “Bahishkar Yoga” and Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh believed that the movement was training in “Self- Help, Determination and Reliance”. Some leaders and from the places that they started their movements are – 

Leaders Places
Bal Gangadhar Tilak Pune
Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh Punjab
C. Pillai Madras
Syed Haider Raza Delhi
Hari Sarvottam Rao Andhra Pradesh

Also Read – History of Lala Lajpat Rai 

The Diversity of the Movement 

The diversity of the movement was felt from politics to a breakthrough in Indian art, poems and literature, music, science, and industry. The movement was driven by deep patriotism and pain at the hands of Britishers. The movement, however, came out as a cultural movement. 

  • K.K Mitra in his newspaper, ‘Sanjivani’ first gave the idea of a Boycott, followed by the prospects of national education, awareness, and ‘Economic Swadeshi’.
  • Rabindranath Tagore composed “Amar Sonar Bangla”
  • Swadeshi enterprises like TISCO, Bengal Chemical Factory under P C Ray, etc started.
  • Mass Ganesh and Shivaji Festivals by Tilak were organized for the first time.

Various ways of Boycott of British goods like cloths, sugar, goods, etc took place. This integration of Swaraj with that of the boycott movement led to the Swadeshi movement in place. 

The Swadeshi movement can be called as a stepping stone or groundwork for taking the future independence struggles. With the foundation in place, the programs that were fostered during the Swadeshi movement became the insignia of the Gandhian movement as well.

 Also Read – Khilafat Movement  

The Decline of the Movement

The Government launched an aggressive attack on the leaders by passing and implementing various new laws which included – 

  1. Sedition Meeting Act, 1907
  2. Indian Newspaper Act, 1908
  3. Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908
  4. Indian Press Act, 1910.

The movement soon became leaderless as prominent ones like Tilak were sent to Mandalay Jail for 6 years, Lala Lajpat Rai left for abroad, and B.C Pal retired from active politics. The strategy of Repression, Suppression, and Conciliation adopted by the Government gave them fruitful results. The national movement soon declined till 1914 to again rise, leaving a feeling of patriotism, unity, Atma Shakti, and want for Swaraj.



#1. The Swadeshi Movement was launched _____:

#2. In which year Swadeshi Movement started in India?

#3. Who was the president of the Indian National Congress during Swadeshi Movement?


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