95 Years Later: Gandhi’s Satyagraha

GandhiAccording to This Week In Peace & Social Justice History, on this day 95 years ago:

Mohandas Gandhi launched his campaign of non-cooperation with Imperial British control of India. He called his overall method of nonviolent action Satyagraha, formed from satya (truth) and agraha, used to describe an effort or endeavor. This translates roughly as “Truth-force.” A fuller rendering, though, would be “the force that is generated through adherence to Truth.”

From Thomas Merton in Gandhi On Non-Violence (1964):

A society that lives by organized greed or by systematic terrorism and oppression (they come to much the same thing in the end) will always tend to be violent because it is in a state of persistent disorder and moral confusion. The first principle of valid political action in such a society then becomes non-cooperation with its disorder, its injustices, and more particularly with its deep commitment to untruth. Satyagraha is meaningless if it is not based on the awareness of profound inner contradiction in all societies based on force…The first job of a satyagrahi is to bring the real situation to light even if he has to suffer and die in order that injustice be unmasked and appear for what is really is.

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