more ads
Kamat's Potpourri Mahatma Gandhi Album
Kamat's PotpourriNew Contents
About the Kamats
History of India
Women of India
Faces of India
Indian Mythologies
geographica indicaArts of India
Indian Music
Indian Culture
Indian Paintings
Dig Deep Browse by Tags
Site Map
Historical Timeline
Master Index
Research House of Pictures
Stamps of India
Picture Archive
Natives of India
Temples of India
Kamat Network
Blog Portal

Story of Satyagraha

by Jyotsna Kamat

First Online: April 04, 2005 
Page Last Updated: October 18, 2017

As is well known, Gandhi's political ideology evolved during his early years in South Africa. He was influenced by the writings of Thoreau, Tolstoy and Ruskin. The three writers had advocated Non-cooperation of civilians against the government if it proved suppressive or tyrannical. But their thoughts found only in writing, got a practical shape in Gandhi's approach, first against the highly unruly administration of colonial Governments in Africa and later in the struggle for Independence in India.

Gandhiji felt that laws which were totally against the welfare of the people, could be fought peacefully by organizing mass-protests in a civil way.

Pacifism, civil disobedience, rightful resistance against wrong policies, passive resistance, non cooperation are some of the forms of non violence Gandhiji brought into practice. All these terms come under the common term "Satyagraha".

In his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments With Truth Gandhiji has stated that the word "passive resistance" which was in vogue, then in Europe, was "too narrowly" construed. It could be interpreted as a weapon of the weak. It could be characterized by hatred. It could finally manifest itself as violence. A new word had to be coined-based entirely on the ideology of non violence as Gandhiji termed conceived.

Through his periodical," Indian Opinion", Gandhiji announced a nominal prize to the person who could suggest an apt word. The word suggested was Sadagraha (sud-truth; agraha-firmness) in order to make it clearer, Gandhiji changed the word Sad to Satya. "Satyagraha", designated the struggle, he was planning to launch.

Gandhiji was fully aware of the harm involved in Civil Disobedience launched before without preparations. Before starting it, there was need for willing and respectful obedience to the Laws of the LAnd. Laws in general were obeyed out of fear of the penalty for the breach. He quotes an instance. An honest, respectable man will not suddenly take to stealing, whether there is a law against stealing or not, but this very man will not fear any remorse for failure to observe the rule about carrying head lights on the bicycles after dark. "Indeed it is doubtful whether he would even accept advice kindly about being more careful in this respect. But he would observe any obligatory rule of this kind, only to escape the inconvenience of facing a prosecution for a breach of the rule", Gandhiji writes.

Satragrahis Make Salt
Citizens Breaking Law in a Peaceful Way in Civil-Disobedience

Satyagraha or struggle against injustice could be individualistic or on a mass scale. He felt that a Satyagrahi (Individual Struggler or soldier of non-violence) had to obey the laws of the society intelligently, and of his own free will. For mass civil disobedience it was necessary to create a band of well tried, pure hearted volunteers who thoroughly understood the strict conditions of Satyagraha.

Patience and sleepless vigilance were required for the same. At the same time Gandhiji became aware of the difficulties in organizing devoted volunteers, in a continued struggle. 

See Also:

Mahatma Gandhi Album

Table of Contents

Biography Article
Man and Wheel _Picture_
Gandhi -Timeline
Churchill & Gandhi Article
Dandi March _Picture_
On Education Quote
On Jews Article
Autobiography Article
Gandhi & Women Article
Ask Gandhi  Q & A
"Leader Lead" _Picture_
Leather Puppet _Picture_
Gandhi on Gita Quote
Photo Quilt
Voice Clip Sound
Boy Gandhi _Picture_
As a Lawyer _Picture_
Day with Gandhi Slideshow
Visit to Sevashram Article
Gandhi by Laxman _Picture_
Gandhiji Quotes Quote
Radhakrishnan on Gandhi
Gandhi Cartoon _Picture_
Man & Wife  _Picture_
On Bhagat Singh Quote
ASCII Gandhi
Gandhi Rangoli _Picture_
Portrait _Picture_
Gandhi Stamps
Gandhi Painting _Picture_
Miracle Worker _Picture_
Alphabetical Index
Internet links
Satyagraha Article
Eulogy by Nehru Article
Gandhi Currency _Picture_
Hind Swaraj ArticleArticle
Gandhi Pictures _Picture_ _Picture_


Kamat's Potpourri Mahatma Gandhi Album

Research Database

© 1996-2017 Kamat's Potpourri. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without prior permission. Standard disclaimers apply

Merchandise and Link Suggestions

Top of Page