Monday, Jun 15, 2020 15:15 [IST]
Last Update: Monday, Jun 15, 2020 09:30 [IST]
'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', is the slogan chanted by the Prime Minister of India, Shri NarendraModiji to promote indigenous products of India around the time when India and the world are fighting against COVID-19 (Corona virus).Needless to say that due to the spread of the Corona virus and its capability to take life itself, millions of people were made to stay home, locked up in a lockdown, thereby restricting the movement of people, putting a halt to daily routine, schools being closed, people being unemployed and affecting millions of lives around the world. This has led to resentment and anger against China where the COVID-19 (Corona virus) is said to originate and the failure of Chinese government to warn about the spread of virus and its deadly effects. Despite all these hardships and heart breaking stories of human struggle and loss of human life, at this crucial juncture, the attitude of China towards India at the boarder seems to be taking advantage of the entire scenario.
Though, the slogan of the Prime Minister may not be in consonance with recent statement made by Mr.SonamWangchuk, (engineer turned innovator and an educational reformer) of Ladakhto boycott Chinese goods as an act of resentment against the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which India and China share at the border.It is pertinent to mention here that India is one of the major importers of Chinese goods.
In this regard, not only does Sikkim share its border with China but also had strong trade links with erstwhile Tibet (now Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), China) and religious belief among its population, popularly Buddhism since times immemorial. This little state has been widely influenced by Chinese clothes, food habits, cutlery, toys and may more over the past millennia. Moreover, the reopening of the Nathula Trade Route, in 2006at Sikkim has seen the highest spike in varieties of items been brought from China which has led to people being dependent on them. Most household has and prefers Chinese embroidered cutlery, be it your plates, soup bowls, tea pots, tea mugs, drinking glasses, etc. There are many shops fully dedicated to Chinese items from electronic products to toys, shoes, blankets, mountaineering equipment, etc. The reason for the popularity of these items may not be durability but it is cost effective, fine finishing, good use of colour, good use texture, etc.
It may be a bit challenging for the people of Sikkim to give up on Chinese goods given the dependency which we have. Slowly but steadily we can but try to give up our dependency on these products and try to use products made in India. If we look at a bigger picture, India’s trade dependence on China is huge and China’s share in India’s total export and import are 9% and 18% respectively in 2019-20. India has nothing to lose really, it is China who would be financially defeated as per the humungous figures of their import to India. So, can we give up on our Chinese dependency, to show solidarity with our countrymen?