Activities & Programmes of SJM
SJM come into existence on 22 November 1991 at Nagpur and within a short period it started its activities on a warfront. On the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand, 12 January 1992 the struggle against the economic imperialism began in the form of mass awareness programme. In this campaign the changes in the economic policies, devaluation of rupee and interference of external powers in the policy-making decisions and their collective harmful impacts on Indian economy were exposed to the public.
Around the same time primary literature on Swadeshi was circulated in the different states. Later on various related topics were covered & published on a regular basis. Among them the prominent ones are “ The Third Alternative “ by Shri Dattapant Thengdi, “ The Menace of Multinationals” by Shri Dayakrishna, “ Hindu Economics” by Dr.M.G.Boakare etc.
The first major public meeting of SJM was organised at Mumbai on 22 November 1992, which was addressed by prominent thinkers and national level workers. This meeting proved that people from different ideological backgrounds were willing to share the platform of SJM on an all-concerning issue like Swadeshi.
The first national convention was held at New Delhi on September 4- 5, 1993; which did 622 delegates attend. Before that many associate organisations of SJM like BMS, ABVP, BKS, ABGP etc. carried out their own action programmes for spreading awareness about harmful effects of Duncal’s Draft. Therefore, representatives from these organisations were also present at Delhi convention.
Thereafter on all India level a meeting of main workers was held at Nagpur on 15th November 1993. In this meeting it was decided to boycott the products of MNCs like Pepsi, Coke & Colgate. The Central Govt. was requested for not to agree on Duncal’s Draft.
The first meeting at National Council was held at Pune on April 2-3, 1994. All state conveners, representatives from associated organisations and all central committee members attended it. In this meeting it was decided to begin afresh a massive mass-awakening programme. This was a major achievement for SJM. Within a time-span of 15 days, 1,83,401 workers were organised at 5418 towns & 1,09,140 villages. In these meetings the President of India was urged upon to stop the Govt. from going ahead with Duncal’s proposals. People took vow to use Swadeshi products and thereby help India in becoming a self-sufficient nation. During this movement 372 Swadeshi Depots were opened and more than 30 million pamphlets were distributed among people. Political activities from distinct ideologies work together for SJM in its struggle for economic independence.
Second National Council meeting was held at Madras. Thereafter one-day conference was organised against the Govt. policy of giving permission to MNCs for catching fish in the Indian waters. On May 6-7, 1995 National Conference against export of cattle-meat was held at Hyderabad. A seminar was organised on the issue of power at Mumbai on 26th May 1995. A National Action Group on Power was established to fight against the irregularities in the deals with MNCs. This Action Group had its first meeting on 21st October 1995. A movement was started against Enron Corp., which had a deal with Maharashtra State Govt. to start a mega power at Dabhol. This deal violated all principles and the public was kept in total darkness about the agreements. The advice of World Bank and the central energy tribunal was ignored and the deal was overpriced by at least 2200 crore Rs. Due to strong agitation by SJM, the public & the media became aware of the issue and subsequently the newly elected state govt. was forced to withdraw the deal. It was a massive victory for Swadeshi Movement which saved thousands of crores of Rupees by forcing other power companies to down price their deals. In August 1995 another milestone was achieved when publication of Swadeshi patrika started. It was desired for long and would help the movement in long run.
The second national convention of SJM was held at Calcutta on November 4-5, 1995. Total 442 delegates from different part of country took part in it. Resolutions on ‘ Cultural Invasion through Media ‘& ‘ Economic situation of the country ‘ were passed in this convention. Action groups on Power, problems of weavers, Patent laws, livestock safety & fishing in deep sea were formed to effectively handle these issues.
Presentation of cattle wealth was the first among many issues on which the Manch launched a successful nationwide movement. The campaign started from Sewagram, Wardha on 15 th November, 1995. The cow-protection cavalcade moved out again from Bapu Kutir. Twenty-three cookers from all over the country participated in the March. After covering 600 kms. during the 22 days from 15 th November to 6th December these activities (Padayatris) reached the AI Kabir mechanised abattoir at Rudroram. Despite heavy police deployment and terror the Satyagraha was a great success.
The first meeting of the campaign committee in support of Beedi workers was held at Pune at Pune on 7 th January, 1996. The threat faced by the millions of Beedi workers, as a result of the government’s decision to permit manufacturer of mini cigarettes and to reduce taxes on them, was discussed at the meeting.
A Jal Yatra (Boat March) was organised against the decision of the central government to grant licenses to the MNCs for deep-sea-fishing from both the coastal areas of the country covering about 7000 kms. this Jal Yatra passed through six coastal states of the country. For the first time, in this struggle for survival by the fisherman, their own boats and other equipment were used as an instrument of mass-awakening one branch of Jal Yatra started from Porbandar (Gujarat) on the west coast on 2nd January, 1996 under the leadership of Shri Lalji Bhai Patel and another from Kakdwip on the East Coast on 14 th January under the leadership of Shri Suraj Mitra. Both ended on 8 th February at Thiruvananthapuram.
A seminar on “Power Policy Contradiction and Swadeshi Perspective” was organised in Delhi on 7th & 8 th April 1996 by the working group on power formed by the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch. Shri Trilok Nath Chaturvedi, MP and Former Controller and Auditor General of India inaugurated this seminar. Many experts and technologists from the power sector participated in the seminar.
A meeting of the National Council was held on 5 and 6 October 1996 at Delhi. A report on the past activities and a plan of the future programmes was presented. Organisational goals were determined and an action plan was prepared at the meeting.
A National Workshop on “ The Concept of Development” was organised at Pune from October 28-30, 1996 the National Working Group on Development and was attended by 25 prominent activists from all over the country.
The Third National Convention of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch was held at Varanasi on November 14-16, 1997. Delegates from all over the country of 960 items had participated in the Varanasi Conference. The former Director of UNCTAD Shri Bhagirath Lal Das inaugurated it. At this conference the Manch had called upon the government to disassociate itself from the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The Manch had decided upon three initiatives from the organisational point of view. 1) Establishment of study circles throughout the country; 2)Organisation of a Sangarsha Vahini and 3) Constitution of a forum of well-wishers for providing financial support to the Manch.
Meeting of the Rashtriya Sabha of the Manch was held at Raipur on April 18-19, 1998. The Manch had clearly warned the government against the free imports of 380 items under exim policy.
The first Rashtriya Vichar Varga was organised in Delhi from May 3-9, 1998 in order to hold discussions on the current economic situation in the country, the challenges posed by liberalisation, WTO and related issues, the concept of development, Swadeshi strategy and various other topics.
Swadeshi Chetna Yatras were organised from 17 th September to 2nd October, 1998 throughout the country. In Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Kerala, the processions were taken out from 2nd October to 10th October owing to organisational compulsions. Swadeshi Chetna Yatra marks an important milestone in the progress of the Swadeshi movement. The Chetna Yatra aimed at forewarning people about external dangers and to call upon them to take constructive interest in the Swadeshi movement.
The agitation against Enron, the long march from the Sewagram to Alkabir for the preservation of out cattle wealth, the Yatra for the protection of the jobs of our fisherfolk, and the Swadeshi Chetna Yatra all are indicative of the organisational growth and sweep of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch.
The Central Steering Committee of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch met on October 28-29 at Mumbai. At the meeting a resolution was passed against the controversial economic decisions of the Central Government.
The Manch organised a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on December 3, 1998 to register its protest against the insurance bill.
To promote Bharatiya producers and to establish Swadeshi entrepreneurs a Swadeshi Mela was organised on grand scale by Centre for Bharatiya Marketing Development (CBMD) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from January 25-30, 1999. More than 300 business houses participated in the Mela. Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee Hon’bl. Prime Minister inaugurated Mela.
On February 25, 1999 a mass rally was organised at Ramlila Maidan, Delhi, to challenge the undemocratic structure of WTO.