Satyagraha – A holistic approach towards life, based on the ideals of truth and moral courage.
Satyagraha’s goal is winning over people’s hearts, and this can be achieved only with tremendous patience, Satyagraha is more than a political tool of resistance. The similarities of the Satyagraha to some of the greatest philosophical and religious tenets of the world have been observed and much written about. However, in the specific context of India, Satyagraha was an immense influence. It went a long way in instilling among the Indians a dignity for hard labor and mutual respect. In the traditional Indian society torn apart by caste and creed based discriminations, Satyagraha stated that no work was lowly. It championed secularism and went a long way in eradicating untouchability from the heart of India’s typically stratified society. Satyagraha glorified the role of women as an important member of the society. All in all, Satyagraha instilled in the Indian mind a dignity and a self respect that is yet unprecedented in its modern history. Gandhi’s system of Satyagraha was based on nonviolence, non-cooperation, truth and honesty. Gandhi used non violence in India’s freedom struggle as main weapon and India became independent from British rule.
Truth – The most powerful weapon.
Gandhism is more about the spirit of Gandhi’s journey to discover the truth, than what he finally considered to be the truth. It is the foundation of Gandhi’s teachings, and the spirit of his whole life to examine and understand for oneself, and not take anybody or any ideology for granted. Gandhi said: ‘The Truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction’. Truth or ‘Satya’ was the sovereign principle of Mahatma Gandhi’s life. The Mahatma’s life was an eternal conquest to discover truth and his journey to that end was marked by experiments on himself and learning from his own mistakes. Fittingly his autobiography was titled ‘My Experiments with Truth.’ Gandhi strictly maintained that the concept of truth is above and beyond of all other considerations and one must unfailingly embrace truth throughout one’s life. Gandhi pioneered the term Satyagraha which literally translates to ‘an endeavor for truth . ‘In the context of Indian freedom movement, Satyagraha meant the resistance to the British oppression through mass civil obedience. The tenets of Truth or Satya and nonviolence were pivotal to the Satyagraha movement and Gandhi ensured that the millions of Indians seeking an end to British rule adhered to these basic principles steadfastly.
Non-violence is ever lasting.
Gandhian strategy is the collection of inspirations, principles, beliefs and philosophy. The fundamentals of Gandhi’s non violence theory, Jainism and Buddhism were the most important influence. Both Jainism and Buddhism preached non-violence as the basic principal of existence. Gandhi was also influenced By Bhagvad Gita with its stress on non attachment and selfless action, Christianity, along with its massage of love and compassion, extended even to one’s enemies, was another important influence on Gandhi’s life. Gandhi’s life was based on truth, honesty and moral courage.
Mahatma Gandhi was great national hero, who served the nation with truth and non violence. Gandhi was against violence. He always disliked war on the ground of its violent nature. That’s why when the Second World War began in 1939; he opposed the stand of British government dragging India into war without consulting Indian leaders. Gandhi was in favor of non violence; therefore he was against in any cooperation in war efforts. According to Gandhi the use of non violence consists of anger, selfishness, hatred and enmity. According to him violence cannot do anything good to human beings. A Gandhian strategy for confronting terrorism, therefore, would consist of the following:
Stop an act of violence in its tracks. The effort to do so should be nonviolent but forceful. To focus solely on acts of terrorism, Gandhi argued, would be like being concerned with weapons in an effort to stop the spread of racial hatred. Gandhi thought the sensible approach would be to confront the ideas and alleviate the conditions that motivated people to undertake such desperate operations in the first place. As we know, non-violence and truth go side by side. After knowing Gandhism, it is imperative for us to know clearly the concept of non-violence also as it accords the ground for Gandhism.
For Gandhi, means were as important as the end and there could be only one means- that of non-violence. What is non-violence? Ordinarily, we attribute nonviolence as a dictum that prescribes non-snatching of anyone’s life. Really, this is not complete derivation pertaining to the concept of non-violence. Non-violence is quite opposite to violence. As such, it would be better to know the position relating to violence in order to know non-violence and to be in knowledge of its meaning. According to a Jain scholar: ‘Whenever, we hurt some other living being through our thought, utterance or action under non-cordial stipulation and non-apt learning, such an impure spirit or act of destroying life of some other one, including the impure tendency, utterance or presuming, is taken to be full of vice of violence. In such a situation, even if there is no sort of violence externally, it intrinsically ipso facto remains a tendency of violence’. There are three categories of violence:-
When we hit physically anybody.
When we think wrong and feel jealous with anybody.
When we aggressively speak and abuse to anybody.
All these categories create negative energy in human body. The negative energy has adverse affect on human body. Gandhi criticized violence. It is a body of ideas and principles that describes the inspiration, vision and the life work of Gandhi. It is particularly associated with his contributions to the idea and practice of non violence resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance. The term “Gandhism” also encompasses what Gandhi’s ideas, words and actions mean to people around the world, and how they used them for guidance in building their own future. Gandhism also permeates into the realm of the individual human being, non-political and nonsocial. A Gandhian can mean either an individual who follows, or a specific philosophy which is attributed to, Gandhism.
In context of non-violence being perpetual, Mahatma Gandhi states, ‘When we peruse the era from beginning unto now relating to the period for which we gain historical evidence, we find that man has been ultimately treading path of nonviolence’. It is, as such, that non-violence came into existence along with man. In case it has not been with man from the very beginning, there might have been self-doom by man. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and non-existence.”
However, it has not been that and not only human race is alive in such a huge number but there has been gradual enhancement in development and nearness in spite of presence of various obstacles and nuisances. This could never have been, but because non-violence is perpetual, it happened. Mahatma Gandhi was against any form of exploitation and injustice. According to him, evils must be opposed at any cost. But he insisted that the weapons must be non violent and moral ones. The adoption of peaceful method made one superior and put the enemy at a disadvantage but the condition is the opponent must be dealt with mutual respect and love. Gandhi believed that only through love an enemy could be permanently won. Non violence is not passive. It is active, creative, provocative and challenging. Gandhi described non-violence as ‘A force more powerful than all the weapons of world combined’. Non violence is the greatest and most active force in the world. Gandhi wrote, It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of humanity. When we tap into the spirit of non-violence, it becomes contagious and can topple empires. In relation to violence, there are two options in the world. These options are, we fight back or run away. Non violence gives us third option: creative active, peaceful resistance to injustice. Non violence means standing unmoving against injustice until injustice is transformed into justice. Non-violence dose not harm to others and does not adversely affect other directly .but it works internally. Instead of killing others, we should do in the nonviolent struggle for justice and human rights. Non-violence begins in the heart then it moves out to our families, local communities, cities, nation and world.
Gandhi thought, debased those who adopted it. A violent posture adopted by public authorities could lead to a civil order based on coercion. For this reason Gandhi insisted on means consistent with the moral goals of those engaged in the conflict.
Gandhi dreamed of a new world of non-violence with overall peaceful environment. Non-violence is a universal phenomenon and it has great relevance and significance. It is the ultimate solution of all kinds of problems and conflicts in the society, nation and world. However, its result depends upon its understanding and proper application. The present scenario of violence and exploitation all over the world has raised an important issue. Any nation which has been suffered with communalism, dictatorship, corruption and power games really needs to go back to Gandhi’s conviction of nonviolence and truth as his mission. By adopting nonviolence, social, political, economic and religious conflicts shall be removed. Undoubtedly, the social doctrine of non violence that has emerged from Gandhian ideas has now become the key to forge and sustain the new social and political order. Today, there is need to adopt Ghandhian philosophy and ideology in overall world to remove all kind of problems and creating peaceful environment. Gandhi is not the past, he is the future. He is an early sign of what we can be.
Presently a big portion of the world happens to be under Democratic system of Government. Theoretically, this system stands out to be the best up to now. This is a truth. It is the best because people are connected with it directly or indirectly at every level. Not only this, it is this very system, which provides maximum opportunities of public progress and development. People can themselves decide in this system the mode of their welfare. However, even though being theoretically the best system of government, if we peruse the democratic nations, we first of all find that there is non-equal development of the citizens. We subsequently find that these nations are more or less victimized by regionalism. They have problem relating to language. They are under clutches of terrorism and communalism. There is also the problem of negation of human rights in these nations. There are other vivid problems akin to mention above and peace is far away so long as these problems exist. These nations should get themselves rid of these problems, all citizens of them must have equal development and they should have communal harmony towards making all citizens collective and unified partners in progress. But, in reality, it is not so.
It is essential that the nations of democratic system of government should be free from above-mentioned problems, must be capable of ensuring equal development of their all citizens and the citizens concerned must march forward on path of progress in unified way along with rendering contribution to world peace. Gandhism is very much contextual today on this accord. It is significant.
Gandhi inspires an alternative vision of politics and resistance at a time when oppression is not only getting more overt and physical but also more insidious. His ideology of nonviolence is a good point to start from. It may not succeed, but it opens a world of possibilities and encourages us to think outside the box. His life also illustrates how radical ideas are first dismissed, only to be tested and embraced later. Gandhi demonstrated to a World, weary with wars and continuing destruction that adherence to Truth and Non-violence is not meant for individuals alone but can be applied in global affairs too. Gandhi’s vision for the country and his dreams for the community as a whole still hold good for India. He got the community to assimilate and reflect true values of humanity and to participate in tasks that would promote the greater good. These issues are still relevant to what free India is and represents. The main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence and it is here the values of Gandhi need to be adhered to with more passion. He is relevant not yesterday or today but forever!!
EMERGENCE OF LEFT WING
Nehru’s Nationalism and his role in the Freedom Movement are closely interrelated, since it was the nature of Nehru’s Nationalist ideas that dictated his course of action in the freedom movement of India. Nehru’s Nationalism: Nehru’s nationalism was not one of mindless jingoism. He was able to reach a common ground between an erudite internationalism and a very keen understanding of the Indian condition. Nehru’s nationalism was marked by a fiery pride in the heritage of the country. But he was willing to temper this pride with his readings and his rationalist views that he received from his Western education in the West.
Jawaharlal Nehru’s role in the freedom movement of India has probably not received as much historical attention as it deserves. That is, of course no surprise, as Jawaharlal Nehru’s astounding success as a statesman who ushered in a new era of international relations through the formation of the NAM, and his stature as the first prime minister of independent India often adumbrate his position as a significant figure in the freedom movement of India. With his charm, highly impressive educational background, and selfless service to the nation, Nehru presented the face of a new and active India to thousands of Indians who looked up to him as a role model and a guide.
Early Years of Nehru in the Freedom Movement of India:
Jawaharlal Nehru was born into politics. His father Motilal Nehru was a veteran Congressman and committed to the cause of India’s freedom for a very long time. Nehru spent much of his educational years in England studying first at Harrow and then at Trinity College, Cambridge. However, the freedom of India was always on his mind. It was therefore no surprise that after his return from the British shores in 1912, the job of a lawyer was the last of Nehru’s priorities. As a student he already felt himself closely attached to the cause India’s freedom, and had his sympathies with the Extremist leaders of Congress. After his return, he involved himself directly into the political scenario of the country.
However, Nehru was still comparatively without a firm direction in these early years, not sure which path was the right path that would lead towards India’s freedom. His father’s moderate ideologies and elitist way of life disturbed him, as he thought him, like many other Congressmen of his generation, to be much dissociated from the ground realities of the land and the lives of the common people of India. He also realized that the direct application of Socialist measures would not suit India’s socio-economic profile. It was at that time that he found a direction in the mode of civil resistance as preached by Gandhi. Gandhi’s success in Champaran and Ahmedabad renewed and established his belief in Satyagraha. He was not slow to adopt the cultural aspects of Satyagraha as well. He read the Indian scriptures of India, and dressed in home-spun clothes becoming a staunch Gandhian in all senses. Motilal and his entire family adopted the Gandhian way of life. Nehru traveled across India, and was warmly received by the masses. This filled him with a renewed sense of self-confidence. It was time he decided to whole-heartedly commit himself to the cause of Indian freedom.
Jawaharlal Nehru and the Non-Cooperation Movement:
The first big involvement of Jawaharlal Nehru came at the onset of the noncooperation movement in 1920. Nehru joined in whole-heartedly in this Satyagraha based movement that stormed India. Nehru was arrested on charges of anti governmental activities and was released a few months later. In the rift formed within the Congress following the sudden closure of the non-cooperation movement after the Chauri Chaura incident, Nehru remained loyal to Gandhi’s camp and denied to join the Swaraj Party formed by Motilal Nehru and CR Das. After his release, Nehru’s fame as a dynamic Congress leader was well-established. He soon became the President of the Allahabad Congress Committee in 1923. However, towards the end of the decade, Nehru grew increasingly impatient with the pacifist nature of the senior Congressman. Along with Subhas Chandra Bose, Nehru was intent on complete freedom and believed in giving an ultimatum to the British Government to grant India dominion status. The senior leaders were bent on a slower and more patient approach. The Calcutta Congress of 1928 brought the rift into the open. Jawaharlal openly decried the Nehru Commission framed by Motilal Nehru, and it needed the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi to persuade Nehru to abandon his fiery stance of more direct action.
Nehru and the Civil Disobedience Movement:
The Lahore Congress of 1929 was monumental in the political career of Nehru as well as the history of India’s freedom struggle. Nehru was elected the president of Congress for the first time at a young age of forty. He used the platform of the Lahore conference to declare the goal of complete freedom or Purna Swaraj. The Civil Disobedience movement was formally launched after the Lahore Congress, and Nehru whole heartedly plunged himself in the non-violent protests and picketing that took the nation by storm. Nehru was arrested again in 1930, beginning the second and the longest phase of his prison stays. On his release, he formed the Socialist party within the Congress and insisted on more stern and immediate measures to realize the goal of India’s freedom.
Nehru and the last days of Indian Freedom Struggle:
The Government of India Act of 1935 called for nation-wide elections. Nehru campaigned vigorously for Congress, although he himself did not contest directly in the elections. With Gandhi concentrating on the spiritual development of his followers and gradually dissociating himself from direct political action, the stature of Nehru within the Congress ranks was now more than ever. He became the Congress President in the consecutive years of 1936 and 1937.By 1938, the rift in Congress was clear. With Bose and Gandhi forming the two feuding camps, Nehru was once more faced with a political dilemma. However, he decided to side with Gandhi and his methods. Bose resigned as the Congress president, and Nehru’s status in the Congress reached a height previously unattained. This year started a new phase in Nehru’s career, especially after his denial to come to a compromise with the Muslim League.
With the clouds of World War II looming large in the horizon, Nehru’s skill in international relations would be tested once more. Nehru did not support Bose’s policy of siding with the Axis forces, and intended to extend support to the Allies. In the mean time, the Second Round Table conference failed and Gandhi launched the Quit India movement in 1942. Nehru was arrested and was released only in 1945. By the time the World War II was over and the new Labor Government of Britain seemed willing to grant India it’s long deserved freedom. However, the British Government wanted to adopt a policy of waiting and watching the result of the general elections of 1945.
Nehru was once again at the center of activities. He was arrested. His refusal to comply with Jinnah’s claims made partition inevitable, as Jinnah called for direct action. Although his fight for Indian freedom stood on the verge of success, Nehru knew his work was far from over. He had to build a new India and had to guide the nascent economy towards success.