Final Research Paper GHUM 252

Submitted By shallocw
Words: 3621
Pages: 15

Final Research Paper: Tackling the Concept of Satyagraha
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” This quote by Gandhi perfectly exemplifies what his developed theory Satyagraha really is. This guiding life principle and method of reversing injustice was matured by Gandhi in an effort to undo the oppression that Indians faced in South Africa and India. Satyagraha was overall more effective than not although there were many instances where the result was a mixture of both. It was most effective in terms of Gandhi and his followers not ever submitting to the oppressors by sticking to its philosophical base and principles. Many other instances show that part of the reason as to why its effectiveness was hindered was because of the very nature of it. The nature of Satyagraha inevitably causes confrontation to occur because of the emotions evoked on both sides when exposed to it. Also, the way that Satyagraha is practiced caused it to be a mixture of effective and not effective. Due to some questionable aspects of the practice, it is sometimes difficult to have absolutely no recourse to violence on either side which is why a combination of effectiveness occurs. Satyagraha was a method of combatting oppression used by Gandhi that was based off of never compromising “truth” through self-suffering, self-control, self-discipline, and remaining organized through obedience to the movement’s leader. Other aspects include simplicity, understanding of the opponent’s perspective, and also sticking to nonviolence when trying to fight oppression. Satyagraha also seeks to purify everyone involved through asserting desires by dramatizing the plight at hand. The meaning of Satyagraha is found when not undermining the journey to get to the desired outcome as opposed to the final result. In other words, it is more important what is learned along the way instead of what shows at the end. Gandhi tended to refer to his method of Satyagraha as being active resistance rather than passive resistance even though others would coin the method as passive because of the nonviolent aspect. Gandhi would’ve countered by explaining that it can be considered active resistance because instead of directly acting through violence, Satyagraha is active because of the actions it evokes from the opposition who acts out of anger due to this method getting under their skin. It is important to remember that disobeying is the last resort in Satyagraha as the main effort is to mutually compromise with the opponent by making decisions and even more importantly understanding how and why the two sides motives differ based on perspective. Gandhi’s and his followers may not have agreed with the British but they understood where they were coming from just not their actions. Also, a key part of Satyagraha is that in the big picture or long run both sides benefit because according to Gandhi all humans have a common interest that they seek to attain therefore there cannot be a win or lose situation but rather a win-win situation. It is not necessarily that Gandhi was the first to invent Satyagraha but rather he was just the first to be able to develop it in order to apply it to a broad scale of issues. Gandhi’s biggest social and political contribution is without a doubt Satyagraha because it has paved the path for other similar leaders throughout history such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Albert John Luthuli. It seems to make perfect sense as to why Gandhi would choose to implement such a practice because Satyagraha directly aligns with how Gandhi lived his life. The philosophical base of Satyagraha has many different aspects that all tie together to bring about this concept as one guiding life principle. Truth is perhaps the most important aspect of Satyagraha’s philosophical base. By adhering to truth, one realizes that nonviolence is the only appropriate way to approach issues like the ones that Gandhi faced. Rather than using