For the first time since independence, a tax has been imposed on all handmade products. Khadi, handloom, handicrafts, all are taxed under the new Goods And Services Tax (GST) regime. Rural sector, already distressed, will take a turn for the worse with this regime. It is a topsy-turvy regime. Under this regime, Luxury products have become cheaper, while handmade have become expensive. Cars and cigarettes cost less, while a Khadi saree, a handloom kurta, a mat, pot and plough shall cost more.
Handmade products are ‘naturally’ expensive. A Khadi saree, for example, costs more than a synthetic saree from Surat. It is going to become even more expensive now. And lose even more market share. You could say, ‘So what? Let it lose!…. what cannot survive in the marketplace need not survive!’. No, you cannot say that!
Save Handmade to save your self
Even for your own survival you need to protect rural enterprise. Handmade is environment friendly. Handmade is, almost entirely, carbon neutral. If you want Global warming to be reversed, if you want environmental degradation to be halted, and more importantly, if you do not want hordes of displaced villagers to descend on your City, you must support handmade products.
We shall buy and sell handmade products without either collecting or paying tax. Tax Denial is Civil Disobedience. Come and join us. Be a part of the campaign to restore livelihoods of the village poor in their own ‘natural’ environment.
Why Tax denial?
We had fought the British against an inhuman tax on salt, nearly a century ago, through a Tax Denial Satyagraha. It has become necessary now, that too against our own government. The government has dealt a death blow to the rural enterprise through GST.
We believe that this Satyagraha shall restore our morality as well. Because, Sant Sabhyata the saintly civilization of India is handmade. Sant Ravidas, Sant Kabir, Sant Kanakadasa and Vachanakara Sants were all hand crafting people. Handmade production, equitable society and spirituality of simple living formed the three tenets of that Sabhyata. Today the Sabhyata is in danger. This campaign is a major step towards rejuvenation of Sabhyata, the civilization.
Market Driven Politics
British enslaved India not so much through the gun as through capitalist industry; not so much through politics as through commerce. They came as merchants. Remained as merchants. Plundered natural resources, brought machine made products, and managed to sell the millmade. They did so through tax manipulations. Handmade was taxed heavily while the British machine was given concessions. It was a standard trick. The same trick is being played by our merchant governments.
GST, created jointly by all state governments and the central government is wrong. Automation that is spreading death across the globe and destroying, nature environment and society is made cheaper while the poor rural product, that is nearly carbon neutral, is made dearer by this regime.
Handmade Was Profitable
There was a time when we obtained everything, clothing transport food utensils everything, handmade. These products were exported. They earned gold. We were not poor. British came to India not seeking poverty, but gold.
What is Swadeshi?
Swadeshi is not mere border counting. Swadeshi is not Hindu ism, nor is it Islam ism. Nor is it Patriot ism. Swadeshi means governing the self. Uniting all the self governed is true Swadeshi. But, Swadeshi got distorted somewhere on the way. The distortion began with partition. Politicians who partitioned this country, on the basis of religion, were responsible for this distortion. But merely because they were muslim we should not look at the Indian muslim as an outsider. For, it will create a second distortion. Nor should we use the muslim as a vote bank. The poor Hindu and the poor Muslim are both, predominantly, craftspersons. They built this nation through hand production.
We, the Hindus, the Muslims and the Christians, all jointly became slaves of automation. Let us join hands for what is right.
This sathyagraha is a consumer atonement movement.We shall protest, by selling handmade products publicly, without either paying or collecting tax. This is civil disobedience. We are willing to face the law, but shall not give up the Satyagraha until the tax is rescinded.
Handmade be made tax free
Vasudaiva Kutumbakam be made a guiding principle in the Constitution of India