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The Nonviolent Struggle for Indian Freedom, 1905-19$
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David Hardiman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190920678

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190920678.001.0001

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(p.159) 4 Nonviolence
The Nonviolent Struggle for Indian Freedom, 1905-19

David Hardiman

Oxford University Press

The fourth chapter examines the way that Gandhi began to emphasize the centrality of ‘nonviolence’ to satyagraha after his return to India from South Africa in 1915. He adapted the religious principle of ahimsa (nonviolence), giving it a new political content. In this, he came into conflict with Hindu nationalists, such as Lala Lajpat Rai, who held that a supposed Indian civilizational emphasis on ‘ahimsa’ (nonviolence) had weakened the country, leaving it open to conquest by outsiders. Gandhi argued, by contrast, that the nonviolent way required great courage and that it also conferred a moral advantage when resisting injustice. Also, people of all religions could practice such nonviolence – making it a secular and non-sectarian principle that could be asserted by the oppressed anywhere in the world.

Keywords:   Nonviolence, Ahimsa, Hindu nationalists, Satyagraha, Lala Lajpat Rai

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