Passive Resistance and Active Resistance

Fact Box: Passive Resistance and Arubindo Ghosh

The concept of passive resistance was highlighted by Arubindo Ghosh. Arubindo was against the Moderates’ theory of “politics of petition” and along with Tilak belonged to the Extremist section. In place of prayer, petition, protest and “please”, he advocated the more radical policy of boycott. Arubindo visualized that other nations had won the precious prize of liberty by ‘intense suffering, humiliations and martyrdom’, than ‘merely by spending the ink of the journalist and petition-framer and the breath of the orator’. In view of Arubindo, the politics of petitioning was “the dream of timid inexperience, the teaching of false friends who hope to keep us in perpetual subjection, foolish to reason, false to experience“. In view of Arubindo, the Moderates displayed only sentimental enthusiasm.

Fact Box: Difference between Passive Resistance & Active Resistance

The essential difference between passive or defensive and active or aggressive resistance is that, while the later is to do something by which one can bring about positive harm to the government, but the former is to abstain from doing something by which he would be helping the government. The concept of passive resistance was suitable to India because – British government had depended mainly for their continuance of administration with the help and acquiescence of the local people. The idea of adopting passive resistance was to jam the administration machinery without doing any harm to it, so that the conditions may be created that the Government accepts the demands. Thus, the core principle of passive resistance was to put pressure on government. Please note that the moderates believed that Passive Resistance was either impractical or injurious political weapon.

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