Gene Chapman has raised a very importent question. He asks what is the difference between Satyagraha and Dharna ? Are these activities not the same? I think it is essencial to understand the meaning of both these terms. Dharna verbally means 'Sitting' against some one under protest. It means you are not happy with someone's action and you are annoyed therefore you sit on Dharna to express your unhappiness and anger. The basic-uniqness of Satyagraha is that it is not against any body but for self-suffering for the ignorence of someone invidually or collectively. For example some Authority or indvidual responsible for the State. We can say Gandhiji's Satyagraha against South African Colonial regime or against Gen. Sumuts, who was head of the State.
'Satyagraha' is an act of self-suffering, It is for the wrong act or, acts of someone to make him realise that he/she has committ ed an inhuman act knowingly or unknowingly. It is an act of love through self-suffering.for someone who is angry and may be having hatered. Dharna is an act of hatered against some one who has commited anger and negetive feelings of unhappiness. There is no scope for love. It is power of love that satyagrahi expersses through his own suffrings. We can say it is an act of changing a person through the force of heart, and not not with body.force.
Satyagraha is an extraordinary act of human heart to express oneness with the one who does not want to be one with you due to his/her ignorence. In his book Hind Swaraj, Gandhiji had tried so show humanity that there is much more power in human mind than physical body. Human being can change the world with his positive mind power than what millions of violent army people could not do. We have several hundred examples of Army-Power-Violent force vs Power of love force. Actually it is the power of love only which bring qualitative change. That is what Gandhiji had shown through his extraordinary example.
Gandhiji had not done any thing like invention. He simply discover the hidden power of man. This power is within every one. The question is of bringing it out and putting it into social action. So we can say that Satyagraha is a Social Action which is the demand of the Time. Humanity has been fedup with the Body-Force-Show[ militarism], and now human being is also going disillusoned with materialism [ Blind Consumarism]. We have to move beyond militarism and materialism.