Satyagraha - Yug Dharma
of Gandhiji


સત્યાગ્રહ યુગધર્મ છે.
યુગધર્મ સ્થિતિ, સમય, સંયોગ, સાધન અને સમાજ ને અનુરૂપ હોવો જરૂરી છે.
દરેક યુગ પુરુષ / સ્ત્રી પોત પોતાના યુગ ને અનુલક્ષી ને વર્તે છે.
જે ધર્મ નૃસિંહ સ્વરૂપ નો હતો, એના કરતા વિપરીત ધર્મ વામન સ્વરૂપ નો હતો.
રામ અને પરશુરામ અલગ અલગ યુગ ધર્મ ને અપનાવે છે.
શ્રી કૃષ્ણનો યુગ ધર્મ અનોખો છે.
ગાંધીજી નો યુગધર્મ એમના સમય ને અનુરૂપ હતો.

Gandhiji was not a pacifist.  He was an activist.  He realised he could not fight the British physically, as he did not have the weapons or the strength to do it.  So he used the power of what he did have.   He used the power of Truth.  He told people the TRUTH – truth that they were enslaved.  People hadn’t realised the pain of being enslaved yet.  Most people did not see the difference of being one ruler or another.  To them each was just as good or bad as the other.  But Gandhiji helped them see the difference and helped them realise that they were not just ruled, but they were ENSLAVED.  When people were sufficiently incensed about this, he told them how to get out of this situation. 

It wasn’t a high tech solution, but it was going to cut the very roots of why the British were in India in the first place – India’s vast natural resources and the buying power of its vast population. 

British Raj created the infrastructure of roads and trains in India not for the benefit of the brown masses, but so as to be able to ship Indian resources from the interior to the ports in speedy, efficient manner.  Indian teak, tea, indigo, metals, coal, cotton etc were exported at a cheap price, manufactured in UK and shipped out to the Empire – including India.  Gandhiji said – STOP !!!  First, don’t let them loot you of your resources.  Secondly, don’t buy what they are trying to make you buy because it will only compound your poverty. 

It was a simple truth.  But no one else had seen it.  Even now, very few people still do.  They do what Gandhiji did – swadeshi, hand-made etc without realising WHY he did it !  The reason Gandhiji’s satyagraha worked is because he figured out what the British were in India for and fought them with the very tools the empire was build with.  The British were spreading their brand of the empire to the world to advance “civilisation” based on the values of “truth, integrity and fair play”.  Using Satyagraha, Gandhiji held up a mirror to the British and asked them – was their empire really built on fair play ?  Was there integrity in the running of the empire ?  Was the empire true to its ethos ?  

When the British could not answer “yes” to these questions, their own appetite for the empire went away.  That’s why after Gandhiji’s Satyagraha, the British did not try to hold on to the empire as strongly as they had before.  Infact the British have become so embarrassed about their “greatest achievement”, they no longer mention it in their school curriculum.  From the youngest age, they are taught the history from remote past to present day and the two world wars – but no mention is made of the empire, how it was made, how it was won, how it was run or how it collapsed.  No mention is made either of the Empire’s significant contribution towards Britain of today.   

I feel that if Gandhiji was here right now, his method of implementing Satyagraha would be different.  What worked in 1920s won’t necessarily work now.  If you are boating, you have to change your tact to stay in the wind and make progress.  Similarly, for Satyagraha to succeed right now, it has to be modelled on what is required here and now.  Ritual copying of what worked 70 years ago is hardly a formulae for success.  Ground realities have changed.  People’s needs and aspirations have changed.  Dressing in khadi is hardly going to improve the lot of the common man or India as a whole.  India needs to produce things its people want and need.  India needs to be relevant to the modern world and global trade in a positive, self-enriching way.  I am sure if he was still alive, Gandhiji’s Satyagraha would reflect the “need of the hour”.  To breath new life into Gandhian values of India, we should re-examine the ethos and basis of Satyagraha and see how we can make it relevant to here-and-now.


© Bhagwat Shah   
[email protected]

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