Gandhi and the Unspeakable

Gandhi and the Unspeakable

James W Douglass, Orbis Books

James Douglass introduces Gandhi’s practice of “satyagraha” with an explanation of the meaning of what we have termed “non-violent resistance”.

It is a pity that, in English, we define this in negative terms, whereas this is completely contrary to the actual intention.

He proposes that “truth force” or “soul force” better captures the nature of Gandhi’s struggle against inequity. “He discovered through prayer and meditation non-violent ways to transform oppression into freedom.”

This experiment with truth began in South Africa and then in his own country, where “the power of the powerless would make him, who had no ambition for power, an increasing threat to those who did”.

The author describes the role of Gandhi in achieving independence for India and tells of his struggle for unity, even after partition, on behalf of the Sikhs and Hindus in Pakistan and the Muslims in India.

The “unspeakable” refers to the situation when radical extremists liquidate those whose activities become an embarrassment to the powers that be, who remove themselves from a charge of complicity, yet at the same time breathe a collective sigh of relief.

After all, our faith is founded on one who suffered the same fate 2,000 years ago.

John Atkinson


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