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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Satyagraha - the only method of opposing corruption

Satyagraha was the system developed by Gandhi in his struggles against the governments of South Africa and the British Raj in India.

The truth is that we in Jersey now face the same problems as Gandhi did; trying to educate a government which no longer serves the people who have entrusted authority in it as to how it should operate.

The first lesson to fully understand however, is not in how to overthrow a government but in how to conduct oneself in such a campaign.

As Gandhi wrote:
"Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force."
"I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance”, in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself or some other equivalent English phrase." 
"The theory of satyagraha sees means and ends as inseparable. The means used to obtain an end are wrapped up in and attached to that end. Therefore, it is contradictory to try to use unjust means to obtain justice or to try to use violence to obtain peace. " 
“They say, 'means are, after all, means'. I would say, 'means are, after all, everything'. As the means so the end...” 
"I have also called it love-force or soul-force. In the application of satyagraha, I discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one’s opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and compassion. For what appears to be truth to the one may appear to be error to the other. And patience means self-suffering. So the doctrine came to mean vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on oneself."
Gandhi contrasted Satyagraha (holding on to truth) with “Duragraha” (holding on by force), as in protest meant more to harass than enlighten opponents. He wrote: “There must be no impatience, no barbarity, no insolence, no undue pressure. If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause.”

Civil disobedience and non-cooperation as practised under Satyagraha are based on the “law of suffering”, a doctrine that the endurance of suffering is a means to an end. This end usually implies a moral upliftment or progress of an individual or society. Therefore, non-cooperation in Satyagraha is in fact a means to secure the cooperation of the opponent consistently with truth and justice.

Satygraha was employed by Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. It is by their suffering that they, and indeed Gandhi, have come to be inspirations for the modern world.

Now compare the above with the following video of Canadian Freeman, Dean Clifford in this five minute edited interview, the full one hour video can be viewed on You Tube. Dean also extols the same principals in his dealings with the Canadian government.

So we can adduce the first lesson, a lesson which will serve a person in all areas of their life.

Find your own truth, be true to that truth, conduct oneself with dignity and respect for others, within that truth.

Gandhi was a lawyer, but one who discovered and adhered to the fundamental truth of British Law, a Law which as our Queen confirmed at her Coronation is based upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. A man who, whatever he may have been, is the most famous Satyagrahi of all time.

As the corruption of human societies and organisations remains a consistent theme throughout history, so does the methods employed by those who oppose it.