Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action

By Dennis Dalton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Satyagraha Meets Swaraj:
The Development of Gandhis
Ideas, 1896–1917

None of us knew what name to give to
our movement. I then used the term
“passive resistance” in describing it: I
did not quite understand the
implications of 'passive resistance' as I
called it—I only knew that some new
principle had come into being.
As the struggle advanced, the phrase
“passive resistance” gave rise to
confusion … I thus began to call the
Indian movement “Satyagraha,” that
is to say the Force which is born of
Truth and Love or non-violence.

Gandhi, recalling events of
1906–1907 in South Africa1


Origins of Satyagraha in South Africa

At least as early as 1896, one may see in Gandhi's pamphlet, “Grievances of British Indians in South Africa,” the embryo of the method he later called satyagraha: “Our method in South Africa is to conquer this hatred by love. …We do not attempt to have individuals punished but, as a rule, patiently suffer wrongs at their hands.”2 But the teaching of the past which he invoked at this time is the “precept of the Prophet of Nazareth,

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