Some years ago I took a discussion of Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of satyagraha or civil disobedience by my friend Tim Conway and organized it for him in summary format, just for fun. And practice.
The discussion is interesting given that we’ll be taking Gandhi’s work a step down the road by irrigating society to liberate it from the same world-dominating viewpoint that Gandhi opposed.
So his philosophy of non-violent social action becomes good background reading and grist for the Post-Reval mill. A book in a new, online Alexandrian Library? (Librarian’s job is vacant. Good pay. Must be a self-starter.)
Tim’s original discussion can be found at his site below.
An Adaptation of Mahatma Gandhi’s Principles of Satyagraha
by Steve Beckow
Attitude Towards First Principles
· Adhere to the truth, which includes honesty, but goes beyond this to mean living fully in accord with and in devotion to that which is true.
· Have a living faith in God.
· Have faith in the inherent goodness of human nature which you expect to evoke in your conflict-partners by suffering in the satyagraha effort.
Attitude Towards Desires and Possessions
· Adhere to chastity (brahmacharya), including sexual chastity, but also including the subordination of other sensual desires to the primary devotion to truth.
· Control the palate.
· Abstain from alcohol and other intoxicants.
· Observe non-possession (poverty).
· Do not steal.
· If you are a trustee of property, defend that property (non-violently) from confiscation with your life.
Attitude Towards Suffering
· Be willing to undergo suffering.
· Be willing to endure the suffering that might be inflicted on family and friends.
· Voluntarily submit to arrest.
· In the event that you have possessions, be willing to have them confiscated or to lose all of them.
· Be willing to die.
Attitude Towards Opponents
· Harbour no anger.
· Suffer the anger of the opponent.
· Be nonviolent. (ahimsa).
· Be fearless.
· Never retaliate to assaults or punishment; but do not submit, out of fear of punishment or assault, to an order given in anger.
· Do not curse or swear.
· Do not insult the opponent.
· Neither salute nor insult the flag of your opponent or your opponent’s leaders.
· If anyone attempts to insult or assault your opponent, defend your opponent (non-violently) with your life.
Attitude Towards Laws and Confinement
· Appreciate the other laws of the State and obey them voluntarily.
· Tolerate these laws, even when they are inconvenient.
· Obey the jail rules unless they are specially devised to hurt your self respect.
· As a prisoner, behave courteously and obey prison regulations (except any that are contrary to self-respect).
· As a prisoner, do not ask for special favourable treatment.
· As a prisoner, do not fast in an attempt to gain conveniences whose deprivation does not involve any injury to your self-respect.
Attitude Towards Civil Disobedience
· Joyfully obey the orders of the leaders of the civil disobedience action.
· Willingly carry out all the rules of discipline that are issued.
· Do not pick and choose amongst the orders you obey; if you find the action as a whole improper or immoral, sever your connection with the action entirely.
· Do not make your participation conditional on your comrades taking care of your dependents while you are engaging in the campaign or are in prison; do not expect them to provide such support.
· Do not become a cause of communal quarrels.
· Avoid occasions that may give rise to communal quarrels.
· Do not take sides in such quarrels, but assist only that party which is demonstrably in the right; in the case of inter-religious conflict, give your life to protect (non-violently) those in danger on either side.
· Do not take part in processions that would wound the religious sensibilities of any community.
· Show equal respect for all religions.
· Remain free from caste, class and other prejudices.
· Offer body-labor or bread-labor.
· Observe self-sufficiency (Swadeshi).