Q. What is your opinion about the importation of foreign goods other than cloths into India? Are there any foreign commodities which you would like to see immediately lay under prohibition? What do you think should be nature of India’s foreign trade in the future?
A. (Mahatma Gandhi): I am more or less indifferent with regard to trade in foreign goods other than cloths. I have never been an advocate for prohibition of all things foreign because they are foreign. My economic creed is complete taboo in respect to all foreign commodities whose importation is likely to prove harmful to our indigenous interests. This means we may not in any circumstance import a commodity that can be adequately supplied from our own country. For instance I would regard it a sin to import Australian wheat on the score of its better quality but I would not have the slightest hesitation in importing oatmeal from Scotland, if any absolute necessity for it is made out, because we do not grow oats in India...India produces a sufficient quantity of leather, it is my duty therefore to wear shoes made out of Indian leather only even it is comparatively dearer and of inferior quality in preference to cheaper and superior quality foreign leather shoes. Similarly I would condemn introduction of foreign molasses or sugar if enough of it is produced in India for our needs.... (Young India. Nov 15, 1928)
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