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Non-violent resistance is a revolutionary strategy that requires intense lobbying and perhaps more courage and bravery than any other form of resistance. In the initial stages, the resistances involves calculated moves aimed at obtaining extreme attention as well as bring about propaganda and chaos to the government forces. The application of the strategy requires magnificent wits and skills for it to be successful. Perhaps the launch of Satygraha in 1930 by Mahatma Gandhi is a true demonstration of the immense skill and courage needed for a successful resistance through the use of non-violent strategy.
Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha campaign represents a series of successful resistance through the application of non-violent techniques. In 1930 when the technique was launched in India, Gandhi demonstrated a magical capability in canvassing for support from masses of Indian people. The launch of Satyagraha campaign and its application in the struggle for the freedom of Indian people was characterized with mixed results of success (Topa 55). However, Mahatma Gandhi skillfully used the campaign in his favor and acquisition of immense support. A memorable moment can be traced in the launch of the campaign. During that day, Gandhi led Indians throughout the country in the crusade. Meanwhile, Gandhi was being followed by hundreds of congressmen and officers from the government all hoping to gain a glimpse of Gandhi's actions. In a twist turn of events, Gandhi broke the law as everyone watched when he made uneatable salt from the sea. The move by Gandhi was immensely successful. The action turned the whole country into disarray as the organizations of the congress set out to make use of diverse attention-getting devices in the intensification of the resistance against Indian people. In fact, Gandhi's action was extremely attention attracting and was highly regarded positively in the Satyagraha campaign.
The success of Gandhi's non-violent resistance was highly dependent on the organization of different structures; both the social institutions as well as the government. Moreover, the cooperation of all people was highly needed in a massive manner sometimes reliant on coercion in getting the support of many people (Wehr 100). The pursuit of success in the non-violent resistance is particularly tricky in the process of garnering support from the people. Consequently, the skills of the chief wielders of the campaign are brought into utmost test in the process of obtaining cooperation and assistance from thousands of people. Additionally, the masterminds of the non-violent resistance need to apply intensive skills in persuasion to the people into acting against the requirements of the order established by the authority in place through diverse means. The resistance also requires the courage and bravery from the persons steering the campaign as there are adverse risks involved in steering opposition to an overwhelmingly powerful authority. Through the application of the strategy of support acquisition, the non-violent campaign can be said to be on the way into success.
The major goal of non-violent resistance and virtually all other forms of resistance is to bring about an alteration of the power structure in existence (Klitgaard 146). If the people involved in the resistance are to attain any form of success in their pursuit, there needs to be highly planned methods of inducing people's support. When the support is acquired, it is also imperative that the power structure in operation comes into terms with the people involved in the resistance. Basically, whenever non-violent resistance is applied, the opposing forces take centre stage and counter each other: persuasion and coercion. The resolution of the existing conflicts between the authority and the resisters create a sense of acceptability and to some extent, acceptability by a vast majority of the people in power. The acceptance of the objectives of the resisters by various people may be steered by persuasion or coercion. Nevertheless, Satyagraha campaign sought to put aside all forms of coercion in favor of persuasion at all levels.
There is an intense pressure and challenge in convincing various people in different government structures such as the police, the army, all professionals, as well as leaders in diverse departments to abandon the set order by the power presenting opposition in favor of the non-violent resistance. However, the biggest challenge arises in the process of coming up with techniques of inducing the support of the people. There are various techniques applied in creating a general and lasting support from all areas (Sharp 45). For instance, Mahatma Gandhi applied various forms of techniques in convincing people to support the Satyagraha campaign and tacitly refuse to follow the requirements of the government in power. Moreover, the manipulation of the techniques based upon suffering proves very successful in non-violent resistance. The Satyagraha campaign made extensive use the technique in gaining support from diverse departments of the government.
The skillful use of persuasion in reaction to human suffering induced by the existing power brings about immense success in a non-violent resistance. When the non-violent group perpetuates its struggle without applying any violence or coercion, the power being opposed is forced into a guilty heart change that creates a form of remorse for the initial use of coercion in quelling the resistance. In fact, the sight of the sufferings undergone by innocent people who do not show any form of violence causes the opponent power to reconsider its strategies in countering the resistance (Ramakrishnan 120). In a general focus, it is often assumed that only two groups are involved in a non-violent resistance. However, nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, a non-violent resistance has three major players whose role is very crucial in the political process of attaining success in the resistance. The first two groups are obvious and their roles are presumably known in advance.These include the non-violent resisters and the opponent power that uses coercion and force. The third group and whose role is very essential comprises of the population on-looking the process and progress of the resistance. Politically, the on-looking population grossly determines the outcome of the resistance.
The first and last goal for Gandhi was the attainment of complete liberty.
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According to Mahatma Gandhi, the attainment of independence from Britain by India was an insignificant objective and a side dish. Therefore, the attainment of full liberty devoid of any form of British influence was the pursuit that Gandhi sought to experience at all costs. Moreover, the attainment of individual freedom by all Indians would yield more independence that a mere proclamation of Indian independence. In fact, Gandhi wrote very inspiring words about individual freedom, "Real Swaraj will come, not by the acquisition of authority by a few, but by the acquisition of the capacity by all to resist authority when abused" (Mahatma 125). The application of non-violent resistance by Gandhi was a means through which democratic struggle would be attained in the process of acquiring complete independence. According to Schattschneider, the concept of non-violent resistance worked successfully as a contagiousness conflict. Through the operation of non-violent resistance was aimed at spreading conflict among large number of people.
Perhaps the availability of non-violent resistance to all people was the main reason for the application of the strategy by Mahatma Gandhi. Besides the democratic opportunity non-violence resistance afforded for Gandhi, it was evident that it was through such a resistance that the pursuit of full individual freedom would be attained. Furthermore, the involvement of the vast majority of the Indians in the resistance would give them an opportunity to attain the awareness of individual independence. According to Gandhi, the application of violence in the struggle would yield more undesirable consequences and than positive ones. In any case, the opponent power had massive weaponry and reinforcement that would successfully quell any form of violent resistance. Therefore, the application of non-violent resistance would dismiss the thought of violence by the opponent authority and instead foster an opportunity for discussion and peaceful agreements (Topa 105). A strong point of focus by Mahatma Gandhi is opposing concepts of violence and justice. Consequently, the intense desire for the perpetuation of justice by Gandhi endeared him to apply non-violence in the struggle. In so doing, the victory attained would be credited to justice as opposed to violence.
Non-violent resistance does not only result to the acquisition of victory without heavy losses but also that the fate of the unarmed people, who are the majority is not put in shambles. A non-violent resistance obtains great success in the manner in which people respond to the process of the resistance. In fact, a non-violence resistance prides in various advantages over the opponent authority. For instance, the acquisition of compliance within a given society ensures that the basis for support on the existing regime is robbed off. In particular, the resistances are mass actions that comprise of people from all walks of life united together in pursuing a common objective (Klitgaard 149). In particular, certain aspects are used in the acquisition of massive support from people. To start with, non-violent resistance needs to be founded upon the values and norms subscribed to by the society. This was the technique widely applied by Gandhi. The Hindu norms formed the basis for the resistance as they advocated for actions meant to protect life of ones neighbors. With such a technique, it was unlikely that Gandhi would lack support.
The couching of resisters by Gandhi in terms of symbols known and accepted by the Indian people provided a stronghold for the non-violent resistance (Sharp 50). The use of known and generally accepted symbols offered a great opportunity for the widespread and immense popularity of the Gandhi's Congress party as well as the Indian Independence movement. When such success has been attained, it becomes evident that the opponent's authority is at the verge of collapse. Gandhi's stronghold was completely far much remarkable than that of the nationalists before him (Klitgaard 150). In fact, he made very calculated and bold steps towards the acquisition a strong support around the country through his high regard for societal values. Furthermore, Gandhi ensured that he applied the most effective methods in obtaining massive support. For instance, the spread of propaganda in communication formed the initial campaign phase. Several activities aimed at promoting propaganda such as posters, parades, demonstrations as well as newspapers provided an opportunity for Gandhi to intensity the resistance.
In history, various methods of controlling and confronting non-violent resistance have been provided. In fact, Wehr terms Gandhi's form of resistance as being highly limiting. The fact that Gandhi was posing a threat and challenge to the social and political conditions already in place in the British India meant a risky venture on his part (Wehr 120). The application of non-violent resistance was aimed at turning around the established order such as the rule of the colonialists, religious discrimination, peasants and workers exploitation. As Gandhi continued with his Satyagraha resistance, intense care was imperative as there were several incidences of violent upheavals in India at the time. Actually, if Gandhi's campaigns unleashed any form of violent, it would have been met by immense resistance by the opponent's forces. The applicability of Gandhi's non-violent resistance has therefore received negative reactions particularly in the case of German Jews who resisted the Nazi regime. Several Jewish political scientists were of the view that if Gandhi's strategy was to be applied against the Nazis, it meant that all German Jews had to commit suicide in order to attain the sympathy of the world. According to them, any form of self inflicted pain would change nothing on the part of Hitler's violence. In fact, there are Jews who regard Gandhi as an anti-Jewish and sympathizer of the oppressive Nazi regime.
In spite of the negative views from Jewish people, Gandhi's non-violent resistance is a true depiction of fearlessness. According to Gandhi, "Fearlessness is the first attribute of spirituality Cowards can never be moral" (Mahatma 200). This is in itself a total demonstration of utmost bravery and self commitment towards the attainment of true success in the resistance. The form of resistance applied by Gandhi was a great show of philosophical non-violence. The main philosophy steering this form of resistance is that injustice and its abettors need to be overcome through the application of peaceful actions. Besides the association of non-violent resistance with pacifism, philosophical non-violence as used by Gandhi transcends pacifism. Gandhi's non-violence imposed a morally acceptable and obligating attitude towards positive actions and complete resistance towards moral vices. In fact, Ramakrishnan concluded that "Gandhi is not merely relevant- he is central" (Ramakrishnan 215).
Nevertheless, the non-violent resistance applied by Gandhi proved to be extremely successful due to philosophical approach he used throughout the resistance. Non-violent resistance does not mean a show of cowardice. In fact, it is a form of resistance that calls upon high level of fearlessness and articulation of the morally acceptable actions even if it means loss of ones life. Application of non-violent resistance based on the societal norms and values leads to extreme support from the people as they identify with their culture. Philosophical non-violence achieves more positive results than mere pacifism as not only do people shun violence and evil actions but also they develop moral virtues by repaying evil with good. People opposed to Gandhi's non-violent resistance either fail to get a full glimpse of the technique or completely lack vital morals.