Atmanirbhar via Boycott?

With the growing sentiment of 'Boycott China' going around, people do need to actually stop and think for a while before making comments with the flow of nationalism or making it for the sake of it. While this post does not take actively sides, it is aimed purely at putting forward scenarios to think about and then decide what and most importantly, 'how' you would want to support the cause.

Should we support 'Boycott China' campaign purely out of the emotion of revenge / getting back with China or is it something we need to actually think through and plan out properly and concentrate on a passive exit by truly becoming self-reliant. If you go by the social media (or troll media that it is these days), the whole reason for supporting this campaign is based entirely on hate, which unfortunately will cause more harm than good.

On the other hand, different from the 'Boycott China' campaign (even though some may mindlessly argue it is the same, but in reality, it is not) is the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' campaign. Now the main difference between 'Boycott China' campaign and this campaign is that the former concentrates purely on "anyone but China", while the latter actually concentrates on being so good, you don't need to rely on others be it China or any other country (which may cause some other issue in the future).

Truth be told, China has been very strategic and in their investments globally, slowly making their way into every country and business by way of either funding or cheap raw materials. Like it or not, a lot of Indian retailers, sellers, MSME, and smaller industries heavily rely on China to keep their operational costs at a level where they can easily run and make a profit to grow. If the same was easily available locally at the same or better/quality with reduced bureaucracy, why would they have to go to China? 

But, on a practical note, they cannot suddenly sever ties with China under the name of nationalism and switch to a local source that they cannot afford (the reason they went to China in the first place). And if people under the influence of this campaign boycott these products which are actually imported, assembled, marketed and sold by Indian companies, paying taxes to the Indian government, generating jobs for an Indian population, who do you think would hurt more? China or India?

Take the complex example of the Chinese company very famous in India - "Xiaomi". They have factories, warehouses and an end to end mechanism-based entirely in India. They sell 'Made in India' products. Now, they are generating revenue for India, by making products in India, by Indian people for Indian people. Banning or boycotting them would hurt Indians or Chinese? Bear in mind, they are also one of the biggest wins of the 'Make in India' project aided by and praised by the Indian government. 

The easiest ones to sever ties which I think most would agree is the software bit. Remove all apps that are Made in China. Most of these you should never have installed in the first place due to their ridiculous content (yes, referring to TikTok) and/or the spyware content (your personal data is stored on servers in China, which no longer comes under the local privacy law purview. But then what about the Indian apps that are funded from China? like PayTM, Flipkart, etc ban them too? 1% of HDFC is Chinese funding, ban HDFC too? Stop using net banking? Does it make any sense anymore?

While on the other hand, if you actually consider this scenario. Instead of concentrating your time and energy on hating a country or race (yes we have suddenly become anti-Chinese), we concentrated our energy on sourcing locally? Instead of campaigning to ban Chinese products, we work on campaigning to build (first and foremost) and then advertise genuine replacements (not hurried - lets milk the cow while we can, apps like 'Mitron' - which is actually a Pakistani source code). Instead of being negative 'don't do this', 'hate this', 'ban this', 'hurt this'... if we use that rage to build things where we say 'this is actually better, use this' and mind it, not 'this is not Chinese, use this', but in fact 'this is really better, use this'.

Would it really be so bad if you stopped hating and instead start building a base, a solid foundation that does not hurt Indians in turn (we are not in a war demanding blood or in this case causing retailers and small companies to commit financial suicide by boycotting Chinese sources)? What if we can create the infrastructure to build quality products cheap within India, essentially taking away the charm or cost-benefit needing these merchants to look towards China. Surely, it is a slow process, but what would you deem better, to take the time and heal a wound properly or try temp fixes and continue to keep the wound aggravating, resulting in an eventual scar? Letting them stay afloat the way they are, while we give them the infrastructure they need to switch to Indian sources.

If we take the time to make this cut over and manage to convince the businesses to switch to local rather than force out of some sense of temporary anger, pride or nationalism and show them that the business model is actually sustainable too, to in-source, instead of importing from China or any other country for that matter. 

Boycotting 100% would be virtually impossible since there will be a lot of things like minerals, chemicals, etc which are local to the geography which does not have active alternates needing them to be imported. If we can actually concentrate more on constructive progress instead of hurting our local businesses more with this boycott, especially in such a feeble time, would it really be so bad?

Time to stop and think, time to figure out if you really need to build up hate inside or build up a passion/motivation/charge to something better... to simply boycott and compromise or take the time to build something better and remove the need for a boycott/hate in the first place?

Just take a moment to stop and think, you want to be 'The Revengers'? or you prefer to be 'Atmanirbhar'...

1 comment:

  1. Hmm.. interesting thought. Agree if we leave the emotions aside and use the brain power to come up with a phased plan it is doable. We may not be able to eliminate our dependence but can reduce it for sure. We need to assess the impact on our people, our economy, prioritise which industries we want to tackle first, create local opportunities and then switch in phased manner. I saw this interview from Sonam Wangchuk who gave an example of how the Jain community for their palate of food and now Jain restaurants are a global chain. Aatmanirbharta is the way to go.


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