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Emergence of Satyagraha: Gandhi in South Africa. Outline  How did Satyagraha emerge during Gandhi’s time in South Africa (1893-1915)?  How does this.

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Presentation on theme: "Emergence of Satyagraha: Gandhi in South Africa. Outline  How did Satyagraha emerge during Gandhi’s time in South Africa (1893-1915)?  How does this."— Presentation transcript:

1 Emergence of Satyagraha: Gandhi in South Africa

2 Outline  How did Satyagraha emerge during Gandhi’s time in South Africa ( )?  How does this relate to C19 passive resistance in Europe? 1.An Indian tradition of nonviolence 2.At a glance: major facets of satyagraha 3.How satyagraha developed in South Africa i.Gandhi’s background ii.Position of Indians in South Africa iii.Gandhi arrives iv.Early work: a hesitant transition v.From 1906: the Transvaal, London, and General Smuts vi.Hind Swaraj vii.1913: successful deployment of satyagraha 4.Relating to European passive resistance: comparisons and Gandhi’s rejection

3 1. An Indian tradition of nonviolence Mughal Period: mass migration Tax protests; move to neighbouring rulers’ territories Against enforced Islamification: Baniya/merchants of Surat Reaction to suicide of one protester => 8,000 leave city C19 Colonial period Indigo revolt Bengal ; Anti-landlord movement Bengal 1870s; No tax campaign Maharashtra Commonalities Mass movements; peasants supported by sections of elites Appealed to morals of colonial rulers Stress on need to grant concessions to stave of escalation of revolt Appeals to liberal values; morality violated by feudal practices Not exclusively nonviolent E.g. Indian Himalya: process of shaming Threats of self-suffering; fasting – became institutionalised British outlawed this form of protest

4 2. Major facets of satyagraha satya (truth) and agraha (seizing/holding) = seizing hold of truth Gandhi would equate satya with God Satyagraha a means to attaining swaraj – self-truth/freedom Truth reached through complex dialogue Beyond reasoned argument; emotional and political pressure Self-suffering can infiltrate opponents’ emotions Opponents to be reformed by discovery of truth – not seen as enemies Individual conscience (building on Thoreau) Decision to embark on satyagraha a moral choice Just and Unjust laws Ahimsa: ‘nonviolence’ Jainism in early life Christian teachings esp. Sermon on the Mount Any suffering to be inflicted on oneself

5 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa i.Gandhi’s background Born 2/10/1869 in Porbandar (prev. Kathiawar) on S.W coast of Gujarat Trading links with S.A; Gandhi himself part of a trading caste/elite Prominent family Always a meticulous calculator – would certainly become apparent Complex and emotionally difficult upbringing Death of father: mission to be India’s doctor Hints at nonviolent beliefs/ahimsa: sex a form of violence Horror of child marriage

6 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa i.Gandhi’s background – London Legal training: knowledge of British legal system Deepening knowledge of Christianity Tolerance and ‘Imperial Loyalist’ Attempts to become a ‘gentleman’ Vegetarians could exist without discrimination Would make Gandhi’s views on S.A discrimination even stronger Returned to India 1891, struggled to establish a law firm and was shocked at the difference in treatment he had received in comparison to London. Snubbed trying to get help for his brother in court; told to ‘pocket the insult’ by one of Bombay’s leading lawyers; ‘changed the course of my life’ Moves to South Africa 1893

7 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa ii. Position of Indians in South Africa Substantial presence since 1860 Natal: 41,000 Indians in 1893 (Europeans 47,000; native Africans 456,000) Contracted to work 3 years; optional extra 2 before being free to work/live as wished Discriminated against Seen as threat (esp. Gujurati traders) by white traders; all castes seen as the same Blamed for outbreaks of disease £3 poll tax; restricted to certain localities Natal and Transvaal (N.E) scenes of most intense tension

8 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa iii. Gandhi arrives Arrived as a lawyer (not a campaigner) On board a train… Refused to accept maltreatment as he was a citizen of the British Empire Would stay and fight for rights of Indians

9 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa iv. Early work: Natal Indian Congress and 2 wars - ‘a hesitant transition’ Still loyal to the British Crown Belief in demonstrating worthiness of Indians to British Empire Sent memorial to Queen Victoria for her silver jubilee; praised her reign Boer War 1899 Supports British; 1,100 Indian Volunteer Corps Rights not granted after war; protests in London to Joseph Chamberlain Asiatic Department set up in Transvaal (Gandhi moves there) but Indians still discriminated against Zulu Rebellion 1906: crossover point of loyalism and opposition? Another demonstration of loyalty But, shocked at treatment of native Africans whites not prepared to treat blacks; racist taunts; some not wounded but captured and flogged; some shot ‘accidently’ doubted values of British imperialism; liberal façade masked racism However, generally showed little interest in rights of native Africans

10 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa iv. Early work: Natal Indian Congress and 2 wars - ‘a hesitant transition’ Natal Congress 1894 and early methods: little impact Limiting/no hints at mass movement: Annual membership of £3 (equivalent to poll tax); platform for the elite Published pamphlets in English Constitutional methods bore little success Reads Tolstoy (1894) and Ruskin (1904) in this early period Tolstoy: logical interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount Ruskin’s Unto this Last inspired Gandhi’s Phoenix Ashram est Simple/self-sufficient living; honouring manual labour Begins printing Indian Opinion Very important influences on how satyagraha developed into ‘a way of life’

11 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa v. From 1906: the Transvaal, London, and General Smuts Discrimination in the Transvaal Newly repressive administration Indians to register and carry ID passes Gandhi organises oath to refuse regulations: coins satyagraha Travels to London; well-received and hopeful of success Transvaal granted responsible government 1907 – free to pass measures Satyagraha begins: ‘Satyagraha was born in South Africa in 1908’ Picketing of permit offices Authorities arrest one of the leaders and demand protesters leave the Transvaal Many imprisoned, including Gandhi for 2 months Not passive resistance? (Duragraha: ‘force of bias’) Gandhi would stress the active power of nonviolence, and it’s non-bias/self-interested motive Respect for your adversary

12 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa v. From 1906: the Transvaal, London, and General Smuts General Smuts (January 1908) Agrees to repeal laws if Indians register voluntarily Gandhi accepts but is betrayed Burning of registration papers in the street; further arrests Jail and Thoreau (1908) Gandhi imprisoned again and reads Thoreau Civil disobedience and imprisonment as a means of resisting war and slavery; individual quest for ‘truth’ Importance of time in jail: classed with natives; saw that all Indians were of the same community; would inspire communal living experiment, Tolstoy Farm in 1910; changed persona and appearance from western lawyer to a more modest character

13 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa vi. Hind Swaraj 1909 Shunned in London pleading for Indian rights Hind Swaraj: A Gandhian Manifesto A lot of the facets of satyagraha included Uses term passive resistance, but his is different and a speciality of India: “Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering, it is the reverse of resistance by arms…If by using violence I force the Government to repeal the law, I am employing what may be termed body force. If I do not obey the law and accept the penalty for its breach, I use soul-force. It involves sacrifice of self.” “In India the nation at large has generally used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to co-operate with our rulers when they displease us. This is passive resistance.” Critique of modern civilization: a mission to reform Britain Industrialisation; cultural hegemony; abandoned Christian morals; democracy; infiltrated and manipulated Indian society Nonviolence to reform Britain and remove yolk of modern civilization; violence is a product of it, thus must not/cannot possibly be used to fix it

14 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa vii. 1913: successful deployment of satyagraha A return of the £3 tax issue 1913: Supreme Court rule non-Christian marriages invalid Women involved in protest; movement gathers momentum Miners’ strike in Netal over £3 tax Gandhi joins them and marches to Transvaal Repressed by authorities; miners sent back to mines, which were declared prison Strikes spread to other parts of Netal; some killed as authorities opened fire on crowds Satyagraha receives wide coverage Especially in India: Viceroy Lord Hardinge criticised South African government Gandhi released December 1913 Smuts agrees to negotiate after second strike abstention

15 3. How satyagraha developed in South Africa vii. 1913: successful deployment of satyagraha Indian Relief Bill May 1914 £3 tax abolished; non-Christian marriages made valid; Indians allowed to enter and move in South Africa more freely Gandhi returns to India in 1915 Note: Gandhi’s role in S.A debated Gandhi as major leader in organising a previously fragmented Indian community. All Indians as one Maureen Swan: Gandhi in S.A ‘highly romanticised ’

16 4. Relating to European passive resistance: comparisons and Gandhi’s rejection Huxley: a confusing relationship. Need for caution in stating Gandhi created something new Satyagraha as a development, evolution, even continuation of European passive resistance, despite Gandhi’s efforts to detach his ideas from it Terminology issues: no corresponding terms in Guajarati or other Indian languages for passive resistance. Satyagraha in its early years ‘corresponds with remarkable exactitude to the European concept of passive resistance’ ‘What was once known as passive resistance later came to be called “nonviolent resistance”’ In detaching himself from ‘passive resistance’, Gandhi perhaps ignored some of its key features evident in his satyagraha Passive resistance used at the time by many despite efforts to do away with it

17 4. Relating to European passive resistance: comparisons and Gandhi’s rejection Continuations from European passive resistance Avoidance of violence Use of strikes Constitutional methods/settlements Some involvement of women Cultural unification ‘Gandhian Satyagraha is subject to the same limitations in practice, the same ambivalence in its environment and the same problematic relationship to violence as its corresponding types of resistance and modern collective action in general, elsewhere.’ (Huxley) Evolution Positive form of Ahimsa: Reform/love of opponents Accepting suffering Not taking advantage of opponent’s circumstantial weakness Realisation that emotional pressure is as powerful as rational argument A moral choice Much grander moral objective i.e. civilization to be transformed Way of life e.g. Ashrams/experiments in simple living An attempt to identify with and lead from the bottom An element of self-blame Direct link between racism, imperialism and sexism

18 4. Relating to European passive resistance: comparisons and Gandhi’s rejection Gandhi’s rejection: ‘Satyagraha – Not Passive Resistance’ Negative connotations; passive resistance avoids violence only because circumstances indicate it will not work Based on self-interest and failed to reach out to opponent Note: much of Gandhi’s rejections come in hindsight when he writes after his time in South Africa. In reality, the satyargaha developed in South Africa shows a fusion of ideas that emerge from knowledge of passive resistance in Europe and the Indian tradition, and Gandhi’s own morals generated from his personal experiences. However there are certainly some important, mainly moral, distinctions. Also, Gandhi’s techniques continued to evolve and would become subject to great change, even contradictions. Satyagraha was an embryonic doctrine when he left S.A. His experiences there highlighted its potential for development and deployment in India.

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