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It is said of “passive resistance” that it is the weapon of the weak, but the power which is the subject of this article can be used only by the strong. This power is not passive resistance; indeed, it calls for intense activity. The movement in South Africa was not passive but active … Satyagraha is not physical force. A satyagrahi does not inflict pain on the adversary; he does not seek his destruction … In the use of satyagraha, there is no ill will whatever. 'Satyagraha is pure soul force. Truth is the very substance of the soul. That is why this force is called satyagraha. The soul is informed with knowledge. In it burns the flame of love. … Nonviolence is the supreme dharma …' It is certain that India cannot rival Britain or Europe in force of arms. The British worship the war god and they can all of them become, as they are becoming, bearers of arms. The hundreds of millions in India can never carry arms. They have made the religion of non-violence their own … In his famous book Hind Swaraj (1909) Mahatma Gandhi declared that British rule was established in India, with the cooperation of Indians, and had survived only because of this cooperation. If Indians refused to cooperate, British rule will collapse within a year.

Gandhiji said," passive resistance is not the weapon of the weak". Why?


Answer by Student

Gandhiji said that passive resistance is not the weapon of the weak because it calls for intense activity to endure suffering without retaliation and to resist injustice and oppression without violence. It is based on the principle of truth and non-violence and seeks to win over the oppressor by moral force .

Detailed Answer by Teachoo

Gandhiji said that passive resistance is not the weapon of the weak because:

  • Passive resistance implies accepting suffering without retaliation. It requires courage, patience, and self-control to endure injustice and oppression without resorting to violence.
    • Gandhiji experimented with passive resistance in South Africa , where he led the Indian community against racial discrimination and oppression by the British. He organized campaigns of civil disobedience , such as the Transvaal March (1906), the Satyagraha Campaign (1907-1914), and the Non-cooperation Movement (1919-1922).

    • Gandhiji applied passive resistance in India , where he led the national movement against colonial domination and exploitation by the British. He launched various movements of protest, such as the Non-cooperation Movement (1920-1922), the Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-1934), and the Quit India Movement (1942).

  • Passive resistance is based on the principle of truth and non-violence . It appeals to the conscience and reason of the oppressor and seeks to win him over by moral force .
    • Gandhiji coined the term “ satyagraha “ to describe his method of passive resistance. Satyagraha means “holding on to truth” or “soul force”. It is based on the idea that truth is the ultimate reality and that non-violence is the highest virtue.

    • Gandhiji believed that truth and non-violence are inseparable and interdependent . He said that “truth is God” and “God is love”. He also said that “there is no God higher than truth” and “there is no religion higher than truth”. 

    • Gandhiji appealed to the conscience and reason of the oppressor and sought to win him over by moral force. He said that “hatred can be overcome only by love” and “the force of love is infinitely more effective than the force of arms”. He also said that “the way of peace is the way of truth” and “the way of truth is the way of non-violence”.

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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.