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The Idea of Satyagraha

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The idea of satyagraha refers to the method used for mass agitation, emphasizing the powers of truth and the need to search for truth. The idea of satyagraha upholds the belief that if the cause for agitation is true and the fight is against the injustices in society, then there is no need to assert physical force or any form of coercion against the oppressor.


Satyagraha means “holding firmly to truth” or “truth force”, and is a form of non-violent resistance or civil resistance against injustices. The person who practices satyagraha is known as “satyagrahi”. The term was developed and coined by Mahatma Gandhi, who used it as an important weapon in the Indian Independence movement and also in South Africa for fighting for Indian rights.

Concepts of Satyagraha

In the case of Mahatma Gandhi, Satyagraha was not just a means of a non-violent struggle but it became the philosophy of his life. Through the concept, he wanted to show that to win over greed and fear with love. The concept doesn’t mean passivity and weakness, but it is essentially an attitude of mind and a way of life based on the desire for correct causes, correction of wrongs, and patience as well as the active use of means which are non-violent and just. Satyagraha also implies the strong assertion of the power of humans and its soul, against the evils of politics and economic dominance.

Satyagraha is a force that works silently and very slowly. It asserts honesty among the satyagrahis, a heart for discipline, prepared to give all, and must not be violent in thought. Satyagraha is a call against exploitation, oppression, forms of social injustice, and social evils.


Champaran Satyagraha


Idea of Satyagraha

Satyagraha began when Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915, after being in South Africa. In Satyagraha, the value of truth was emphasized, as well as the need to seek out insight. Accordant to Mahatma Gandhi, pursuing a peaceful fight will unite all Indians. To motivate the laborers against the harsh estate structure, he went to Champaran in Bihar in 1917. He also coordinated a satyagraha for laborers in Kheda, Gujarat at the same time. A satyagraha for cotton workers was arranged in Ahmedabad by Mahatma Gandhi in 1918. Whenever Mahatma Gandhi began the Satyagraha Movement in India in 1915, he had little thought of how well-known the development will become and ultimately assist India with acquiring freedom. Gandhiji’s concept of satyagraha incorporated the accompanying:

  • Satyagraha was a mass tumult that utilized no savagery and depended on realities.
  • That’s what Gandhiji trusted assuming the reason for the issue was valid and the battle was against foul play, the battle would be won.
  • Satyagraha included winning the fight by speaking to the oppressors and keeping away from peaceful means.
  • Satyagraha stressed the force of truth and the need to battle for reality.

Forms and Methods of Satyagraha

There can be many forms of Satyagraha according to Gandhiji. The process of Satyagraha starts with meaningful persuasions and negotiations. Fasting and fasting till death are the last kind of weapons for Satyagraha.

Persuasion and Negotiations

A satyagrahi is always ready for discussions, peace, and honorable settlement. Gandhiji himself admitted to me as a man of compromise and negotiations.


It refers to peaceful resistance against authority for injustices to workers. Gandhiji laid the rules for strikes that the causes of strikes should be real, practical unanimity among strikers, fix alternate minimum demand.


It is another weapon of satyagraha and is like a temporary strike of work. Hartal shouldn’t be a forced effort but should be voluntary.


It includes social, political, economic, and educational boycotts. In an economic sense, it is the boycott of foreign products, in a political sense it is the form of civil disobedience. And social boycott includes that of government officers, police, etc.


It is a form of non-violence movement but in a more dynamic sense. It is where we come to cultivate the force of public opinion and get enforced with freedom of opinion, that of the majority prevailing.

Civil Disobedience

It started as a protest against the unjust law and is a non-violent rebellion. Gandhiji believed it to be an end to the constructive effort as well as a substitute for armed revolts and believed it to be the purest form of constitutional agitation.


Fasting is an age-old method for the purification of self and that of others. This weapon has been used by Mahatma Gandhi often.

Other methods of Satyagraha include the renunciation of titles, honors, and positions, along with the final and last resort to some sort of agitation through mass media like books, pamphlets, speeches, etc.

Duties of Satyagrahis 

Gandhiji describes Satyagrahis as the “real constitutionalist”, as it is their moral duty to disobedience against evil laws. Satyagrahis have the right to uphold Satya and practice ahimsa which cannot be abdicated. A satygrahi is prepared to accept the opponent’s position if it holds true.

A satyagrahi willingly accepts the full penalties, with rigorous jail punishment, undertaken by law-abiding citizens. He accepts personal responsibility publicly. In rehearsing satyagraha, the satyagrahis need to satisfy the accompanying obligations:

Notice peacefulness as a primary concern. Notice the main driver of a circumstance. Look for the truth. Go through a course of self-investigation. Stick to peacefulness.

Impact of the Satyagraha Movement on India

Satyagraha movement in India had much impact and in many ways helped in gaining independence from the British. The non-violent form of the movement has helped a lot in case of engaging and involving more people in the movement and making movements like that of salt satyagraha, a mass movement. The idea appealed to people from all social and economic backgrounds and many new issues related to Indian society were brought out because of the Satyagraha movement. Some vital points of importance of the movement include:

  1. The British government had been shaken by the appeal of the movement. And because of its non-violent nature, it made it more difficult to suppress it violently.
  2. It brought the Indian freedom struggle to the main focus of the western media.
  3. It brought the socially, economically, and politically backward groups like the women and depressed classes directly in contact with the freedom movement.
  4. Most importantly, it showed the power of the non-violent Satyagraha as a tool for fighting against British and colonialism.

The most conspicuous developments where satyagraha was utilized as the fundamental weapon were:

Champaran Satyagraha-1917

 The Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 was the first of the satyagraha movement which was led by Gandhiji in British India and is considered important for the Indian Independence movement.

The grower was taking advantage of the specialists and was compelling them to develop indigo on a particular piece of their landholdings compulsorily. Gandhiji, in the wake of being designated as one of the individuals from the Commission that investigated the matter sent off a satyagraha development to assist the specialists in getting their duty. Because of the development, the grower paid 25% of the sum they had wrongfully taken from the laborers.

Ahmedabad Satyagraha-1918 

Mill proprietors in Ahmedabad pulled in specialists with a 75% salary raise during the plague. When the plague died down, the factory proprietors needed to cut down the part to 20% which the specialists of the plants protested against. Gandhiji attempted to chat with the proprietors, yet fizzled and requested that the specialists go on a strike. In any case, when he saw the strike dying down, he, himself went on a quick which put the squeeze on the factory proprietors as well as the specialists. Subsequently, the factory proprietors consented to pay a 35% augmentation in compensation.

Ahmedabad Mill Strike is considered the first hunger strike which was led by Mahatma Gandhi. He intervened in the dispute between Ahmedabad workers and millowners. For compromise, he embarked on a death-defying fast.

Kheda Satyagraha-1918

Kheda Satyagraha of 1918 was a satyagraha in the Kheda district of Gujarat, organized by Gandhiji, and was a major revolt in the Indian independence movement. It was the third Satyagraha movement, which was launched 4 days after the Ahmedabad strike of mill workers. After Champaran’s success, Gandhiji organized the movement to support the peasants who were;t able to pay revenue because of famine.

Rowlatt Satyagraha-1919

The Rowlatt Act gave the government the power and authority to imprison any person suspected of any terrorist activities for a maximum of two years without even trial. It also provided for detention without a warrant. It also curbed the freedom of the press. All Indian leaders opposed the Act. Gandhiji proposed a nationwide hartal in protest. There were heavy violent clashes in many parts and wake of the violence the hartal was suspended by Gandhiji.

Salt Satyagraha 

This development was sent off to challenge the British Law that constrained Indians to buy bad quality salt at exorbitant costs from the British. Gandhiji sent off a 241-mile-long dissent walk, known as dandi march toward the west shoreline of Gujarat. Here, in the Arabian Sea, he alongside the protestors gathered salt.

The possibility of Gandhiji’s Satyagraha in numerous ways assisted India in winning its freedom. Satyagraha was embraced as an instrument by a lot of people to battle for their objective. The Norwegians, for instance, embraced a compelling peaceful opposition against the Germans during the Second World War. Indeed, even today, the possibility of Satyagraha should be visibly embraced by many individuals in various regions of the planet to battle against shamefulness.

FAQs on Idea of Satyagraha

Question 1: What is meant by idea of Satyagraha?


The idea of satyagraha implies a method of mass agitation that holds the power of truth, and the need to search for the truth.

Question 2: How is Satyagraha different from Passive Resistance?


Passive resistance does not exclude the use of physical forces for the purpose of gaining one’s win, whereas satyagraha excludes the use of violence.

Question 3: Why did Mahatma Gandhi launched Champaran Satyagraha?


The British planters forced the peasants in Champaran in Bihar to cultivate indigo and Gandhiji did a Satyagraha to resist the exploitation and secure justice.

Question 4: What is Salt March and why is it significant?


Salt March took place from March to April 1930 in India and was an act of civil disobedience led by Gandhiji to protest against British rule in India. With thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from Ahmedabad to Arabian Sea.

Question 5: What was the actual meaning of Satyagraha in dynamic opposition?


It is the exercise of one of the most pure soul force against all injustices and exploitation.

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Last Updated : 13 Apr, 2023
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