What was the basic philosophy of Satyagraha enunciated by Gandhiji?

Gandhiji returned to India in January 1915. His achievements in South Africa had already reached India and became folklore among the masses. For the educated intelligentsia of India, he was a symbol of defiance to alien rule. The common man found in him the one who set to save them from alien oppression.

Gandhiji’s Indian sojourn started with a pragmatic note. He traveled throughout India from Sindh to Rangoon. He attended at Shantiniketan and Kumbhamela of Hairdwar. All this helped to have a better under-standing

of conditions of Indians. He got a first hand knowledge of mind set and sufferings of the people. He decided not to comment on any political matter for time being.

In 1915, be founded Sabarmati Asharam to train associates in moral and emotional lief of a Satyagrahi. His faith in moderate method was eroded. But, he didn’t like to be recognized with any group in the Congress. He refused to join the Home Rule Movement so as not to obstruct the British government’s was efforts in the first world war. He attended the Lucknow Congress Session and welcomed the reunion.

During his early years Gandhiji took up minor issues. He spoke strongly against indentured labourers recruitment. On his insistence Congress passed a resolution on it. In 1916, he spoke against the elitist life style of intellectuals in the Banaras Hindu University ceremony and challenged them to leave luxury for serving the nation and the poor. He raised voice against collection of excessive toll tax in Rajkot district of Gujarat.

Gandhij’s first major political experiment started with the Champaran Satyagraha of 1917. Fighting in aid for indigo farmers against the oppressive ‘teen kathia’ system, he successfully employed his method of Satyagraha.

Satyagraha had its etymological meaning as interest for truth. It implies a moral method of fighting against social and political injustice based on truth, love and non-violence. Gandhiji perfected it during his struggle in South Africa.

The ideal Satyagrahi was to be truthful and perfectly peaceful. He should refuse to submit to what he considers wrong. He would accept suffering willingly in the course of struggle against the wrong doer. His struggle is the part of his love for truth.

Even while resisting the evil, he would love the evil doer. Hatred is alien to a true Satyagrahi. He would never bow before the evil, whatever may be the consequences. In Gandhiji’s view non-violence is the weapon of the brave and courageous.

Thus Gandhiji, after elaborate study of conditions and well crafted method of struggle entered into politics in 1917. With his entry, the content, ideology and range of Indian politics was transformed. The shift to mass mobilisation and his dominant personality gave Indian freedom struggle a crucial advantage against British Imperialism.

May 30, 2016

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