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Do you believe that Gandhi's method of non violent protest, Satyagraha could in theory solve voilent struggles today?

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Yes, Gandhis satyagraha is a means to implement more justice and good-will and to avoid and to overcome violence.

Satyagraha is one of the most worthful donations to humanity.

A better translation of the Sanskrit word into English than nonviolence is goodness-force. In the first place, satyagraha does not mean to avoid something (violence) but to mobilize a force. Mohandas K. Gandhi explained satyagraha in his wonderful book "Satyagraha in Sotuh Africa" as truth-force, love-force and soul-forceGoodness-force comprehends these all.

I made a research on the question: How does this force satyagraha / goodness-force (/ nonviolence) work?

You may have a look at my research conclusions on

Salaam! Shalom!


Goodness-force is a good translation. Satya (Truth) Aagraha (insistance) can also mean not only goodness, but active goodness.Good people without  activism are good-for-nothings.

Coming to the main question: Despite all the violence, the solution begins to come only when there is the condition of no violence. Cease-fire, agreements etc. It is a question of creating such condition at the beginning, not at the end. That is Satyagraha.

Satyagraha constitute a himsa(pain) of the self who does the protest but not of the opponent. Hence, the force gathered out of it must be full of truth, soul, love and of course of goodness too, willing to endure the pain.

With this in theory, a true satyagraha ought to be non-violent while in practice. Many times, not all the non-violent protests become satyagraha.

When the force is ready to suffer for a cause, in the beginning itself as my friend pointed out, it gains more momentum.

Dear Balaji,

Your quote:Many times, not all the non-violent protests become satyagraha.

You have add an interesting dimension to the discussion.  I would like to say, that non-violent protests come first -followed by Satyagraha as last resort.

Yes, the non-violent protest may turn in to Satyagraha if the opponent is adament. From the perspective of an issue or a long awaiting resolution, it comes as a last resort. But, any individual may get in to an ongoing issue through satyagraha at any time.

I appreciate some great explanations over satyagrah. First thing what i would like to clarify that Satyagrah is not a theory to solve violent struggles, but it itself is a powerful remedy to replace violent struggles to achieve something meaningful in perspective of society and civilization. I accept Satyagrah is great way to protest but only when opponent do have minimum

understanding level that forms civilization and makes us human.  

A selfish violent struggle is not struggle but attack to fulfill personal ambitions. Civilization never permits it.

To conclude, Satyagrah remains an option to violent solutions till "humanity" and "civilization" words keep their relevance.     

This is good analysis. 'Humanity', 'civilization' all depend on co-existence which automatically forecloses the option of violence. Actually, These two highlight the importance of non-violence, which, in turn, save them. Of course,there are violent situations which are negation of the basic principles of co-existence. The situation must reurn to the 'normal'.It is possible only if the resistance is offered by using 'normal' means i.e. non-violence. unfortunately, we have been taught that violence is ingrained in humanbeing, though the fact is, if it were so human race would not have survived. Gandhians must highlight the fact that 'non-violence' is normal and natural quality of humans, violence is an aberration however, widespread it may appear to be. 

If you did follow the international news during these last months, you could have witnessed the crowds manifesting in almost all capital cities of the nations of the world. Everywhere people, and especially the new internet generation, have organized civil, nonviolent protests againt the injustice of regimes and fake democracies. 

It is a global revolution and it is a ‘nonviolent’ revolution of the people of the world, of different cultures, different religions, different languages, but united, with courage and determination, to be the change they want to see in the world. 

I am so pleased to see several people comments indicating the importance of loving suffering by the actionist. My mentor in nonviolence, previously the primary source of Gandhi related literature in North America, Arthur Harvey of Greenleaf Books, preferred these satyagraha definitions," Holding fast to the truth." or"Putting one's whole weight on the truth."

I am hoping very much for someone to come forward and show my next statement to be in error. It seems I am the only US advocate of Gandhi's approach to resistance, by which I simplify the meaning to be "Plead guilty and suffer in jail to touch the heart of the adversary". These efforts of mine are very much suppressed by the US peace movement and environmental movement. I'm trying to generate dialog with these good people so I can avoid making them arrest me.

When in court in October of last year for a March arrest with Veterans for Peace my adversaries successfully convince most of my codefendants to refuse to discuss Gandhi's approach to nonviolence

Is it fair to say that advocates of nonviolence who suppress discussion about nonviolence weaken their claim to be advocates of nonviolence?  

Americans who do public arrest for a higher cause generally prefer what they call civil resistance. They plead not guilty and use normal legal maneuvering to avoid or minimize their sentence. They seek to convince the judge that those on power are the real criminals so they as protesters should not have to suffer. I do not oppose such a less stringent approach. I do lament suppression of discussion of Gandhi's more powerful approach.  I am also the first in the US to be sentenced for a civil disobedience on the climate change issue (Charlotte, NC in July of 2009.)

Here is a link to an edited transcript of my talk at the US Social Forum in Atlanta in 2007, "Nonviolent resistance in the US Can be Practiced with Greater Strength."

Criticism is welcome


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