Satyagraha and Passive Resistance

The term satyagraha was coined by Gandhi in south Africa to indicate the movement which was originally described, even by Gandhi himself, as passive resistance. The word satyagraha was deliberately substituted for “Passive Resistance” because Gandhi, probably felt ashamed to use an English word. However, he also believed that Satyagraha had a wider meaning that the Passive Resistance. For him, Passive Resistance is a weapon of the weak, and does not exclude the use of physical force or violence for the purpose of gaining one’s end, but satyagraha has been conceived as a weapon of the strongest and excludes the use of violence in any shape or form.” So, the motive behind Satyagraha was not to destroy or harass the opponent, but convert him or win him over sympathy, patience, and self- suffering.

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