On this Independence Day, we are trying to remember the brands that emerged due to the Swadeshi movement, one of the most important and influential movements of the freedom struggle. Read it below!
Our country and its people are giving much emphasis to the “local” and voicing the “vocal for local”, especially after the inception of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a result, a lot of homegrown brands have also emerged. However, hardly can one forget the fact that the roots to go “desi” dates back to the Pre-independence era with the ‘Swadeshi movement’- a countrywide movement started in 1905 to boycott the imported products and start manufacturing the goods in India. This year, as we are celebrating the 74th year of Independence from British rule, we are going to “flashback” and explore a few brands that emerged due to the Swadeshi movement. Let’s check!
1. Boroline cream
The founder of Boroline, the nice-fragrant antiseptic cream, Gour Mohan Dutta, used to import foreign goods in Kolkata. However, as the Swadeshi movement started in India and expanded in two phases, he joined it and thought of producing substitutes for foreign products. He tried his hands at medicinal goods and started GD Pharmaceuticals, of which Boroline was the flagship product. Its smell continues to please the consumers to date!
2. Margo soap
Once a popular name in Indian households, Margo was also born during the Swadeshi movement in 1916 under Calcutta Chemical Company. The founder of the company, Khagendra Chandra Das, belonged to a nationalist family, and he, himself, was also a revolutionary chemist and entrepreneur. Since the Swadeshi movement had started after the partition of Bengal by the Britishers, Das also took part in it and gave the contribution.
3. Arvind Mills
Arvind Ltd., which was started as Arvind Mills for manufacturing textiles, now has various product lines including Denim, Knits, Woven, Engineering, Retail, Telecom, Agribusiness, real estate, etc. But the foundation of the brand goes back to the year 1931 when the three Lalbhai brothers, including Kasthurbhai, Narottambhai, and Chimanbhai from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, actively participated in the Swadeshi movement.
4. Sulekha ink
Not many youngsters know that our ancestors did use fountain pens during their time, and many of them used the “swadeshi” ink by Sulekha, another label to be born during the movement. Shri Satish Chandra Dasgupta, the Chief Chemist of Bengal Chemicals, created the first homegrown ink in Kolkata. It was also established in other parts that are currently in Bangladesh. It was popular till the late 80s but could not survive after the inception of plastic pens. However, Sulekha again came up with other products in 2006 which gained popularity in the market.
5. Godrej Vatni soap
Though Godrej was started in 1897 by Ardeshir Godrej, who hailed from Bombay (now Mumbai), its popular soap Vatni, meaning ‘Vatan’ or ‘motherland’ was launched in the year 1926 as part of the Swadeshi movement. This soap had carried the green and white paper, which also featured the map of undivided India. Even after the partition, the soap had not changed the map in its packaging!
6. Parle-G biscuits
Who is not aware of the popular Pale-G biscuits! Yes, this is was a result of the Swadeshi movement and was launched in 1929 by Mohanlal Dayal Chauhan from Bombay. It had got its name from the location of the first factory, which was established in Vile Parle (then Irla Parla) in Bombay. The major motive to start such a brand was to serve the Indians, irrespective of their class, a homegrown biscuit, unlike the ones made by the Britishers that were not affordable. It’s amazing how the motive still serves people till now!