Gandhi: India’s Revolution
Satyagraha & Non- Violence
A central element of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence was called satyagraha, often translated as “soul-force” or “truth-force.”
Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms. When I refuse to do a thing that is repugnant to my conscience, I use soul-force. For instance, the government of the day has passed a law which is applicable to me: I do not like it, if, by using violence, I force the government to repeal the law, I am employing what may be termed body-force. If I do not obey the law and accept the penalty for its breach, I use soulforce. It involves sacrifice of self.
- GANDHI Chapter XVII, Hind Swaraj
In The Origin of Nonviolence, Gandhi offered a warning to those who were contemplating joining the struggle for independence.
[I]t is not at all impossible that we might have to endure every hardship that we can imagine, and wisdom lies in pledging ourselves on the understanding that we shall have to suffer all that and worse. If some one asks me when and how the struggle may end, I may say that if the entire community manfully stands the test, the end will be near. If many of us fall back under storm and stress, the struggle will be prolonged. But I can boldly declare, and with certainty, that so long as there is even a handful of men true to their pledge, there can only be one end to the struggle, and that is victory.
- GANDHI The Origin of Nonviolence
1. How is soul-force different from body-force?
2. Making Inferences What do Gandhi’s writings suggest about his view of suffering? Give examples from each document