Gandhi Concept of Passive Resistance

Gandhi Concept of Passive Resistance:

Gandhi was an apostle of non-violence, yet he was not an apostle of cowardice. Non-violence for him was not the non-violence of the weak and the coward but of the strong and the brave. As he said, “Non-violence presupposes an ability to strike”. Hence when he rejected violent techniques as inappropriate for the attainment of Swaraj he devised a militant sort of non-violence technique that was differently styled at different times as Passive Resistance, Civil Resistance and Satyagraha with non-cooperation and civil disobedience as the modus operandi.

The term Passive Resistance as used by Gandhi was not really passive, it was passive only in the sense of absence of violence or active armed action. It was really active in the sense of offering resistance to the alien ruling power with the help of ‘Love Force’ or ‘Soul Force’. Instead of inflicting injury on the ruling power for the sake of freeing the nation from foreign control, it aimed at disobeying the laws enacted by it, thereby inviting injury or punishment on oneself. As Gandhi said, “Passive Resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering. It involves the sacrifice of self”.

Subsequently, Gandhi more frequently used the term ‘Satyagraha’ rather than ‘Passive Resistance’ and the Non-cooperation Movement that was launched in the twenties was a part of his Satyagraha campaign. Thus the strategy was one of undergoing suffering and hardship for a just cause like Swaraj so that the heart of the ruling power may melt and as a consequence, it may concede the demands of the natives for Swaraj. Accordingly, Gandi writes, “In Satyagraha, there is not the remotest idea of injuring the opponent. Satyagraha postulates the conquest of the adversary by suffering in one’s person”.


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