The word Swadeshi is a conjunction of two Sanskrit words, Swa means "self" or "own" and Desh means country, so Swadesh means ‘own country’, and Swadeshi, the adjectival form, means ‘of one's own country’. The Swadeshi movement in India (1905-1912) was started as response to Lord Curzon’s communally divisive policy of partitioning the then unified and large province of Bengal. The real motive behind this, was to divide the population of Bengal along the lines of religion, between Hindus and Muslims,which was a clear implementation of the Divide and Rule policy. The people of Bengal realized the unscrupulous plans of the British and thus the year 1905 witnessed the beginning of the fierce movement which united Bengalis all across the state, irrespective of their class, caste and religion. It was a nationalist movement meant to boycott British goods and buy homemade products, so that the British would suffer economically for their dark designs of divide and rule policy. But what was conceived as a non-violent non-cooperation movement soon turned violent and ugly. The movement saw bales of foreign cloth being burnt and the banishing of foreign salt, sugar and other goods from the state. Students boycotted their classes and were seen looting and plundering shops which kept foreign goods, thereby providing an impetus to the movement.
Rabindranath Tagore felt mortified by many of the nationalist leaders and youths behaving like terrorists and traumatising innocent people for their indifference to the cause.Thus,he decided neither to participate in the movement nor associate with a nationalist uprising again. He often made it clear that he wasn’t against nationalism or the spirit behind the Swadeshi,but against the expression of this otherwise commendable spirit, in an aggressive and exclusivist form.
He responded his detractors by authoring ‘ The Home and the World’, criticizing the various facets of the movement.
Politically, the novel is a critique of Swadeshi...