Gandhi Today: The Story of Mahatma Gandhi's Successors

By Mark Shepard | Go to book overview
Save to active project

A Note on Terms

Gandhi called his method of political action Satyagraha -- a word he devised from two others and translated into English roughly as "soul-force" or "Truth-force." A more exact rendering might be "the force that is generated through adherence to Truth."

Outside India today, this method of Gandhi's is popularly called nonviolence. But Gandhi had a different use and meaning for the English word nonviolence, and the word he translated it from was different: ahimsa. This Hindu term normally means "a way of acting that refrains from hurting others." For Gandhi it came to mean a way of life based on love or compassion for all.

To Gandhi, then, Satyagraha was not the same as non- violence but an outgrowth of it. In this book, Gandhi's distinction between the two concepts is preserved.

For Western readers, though, Satyagraha is too exotic a term for regular use. Other attempted substitutes over the years have included passive resistance -- a term Gandhi used at first, then rejected -- nonviolent resistance, nonviolent direct action, nonviolent action, and, most recently, active nonviolence. Following chapter 1, this book uses nonviolent action throughout.

But the equivalence of this substitute, as of the others, is only rough. Nonviolent action -- in this book as elsewhere -- can refer to any aggressive, purposeful action that refrains from physically harming the opponent. But, as chapter 1 describes, the type of nonviolent action that is Satyagraha goes much farther toward embodying nonviolence in Gandhi's sense.

-viii-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Gandhi Today: The Story of Mahatma Gandhi's Successors
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 146

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?