Q)  Satyagraha proved to be an extremely effective tool during the Indian freedom struggle. Elucidate. 

Why this question 

Important part of GS paper- I.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what Satyagraha is, the incidents when it was used and its efficacy in Indian freedom struggle. 


Elucidate – means to explain and clarify the topic with the aid of examples.


Explain the concept of Satyagraha. 


In the first part, mention the characteristics of the Satyagraha movement.

In the next part, mention the incidents when Satyagraha was used by Mahatma Gandhi to fight against the British. Write about its success.


Conclude with the impact of Satyagraha worldwide. 

Model Answer

Satyagraha is the most important contribution of Gandhi to social philosophy and movement. It emerged as a weapon of conflict resolution. It was a technique based on truth and non violence that was used by Mahatma Gandhi to fight the exploitative British policies in India as well as Africa. 

Features of Satyagraha 

  1. It is a technique of direct action against injustice with firm commitment to truth.
  2. Since truth in a sense connotes justice satyagraha also is a firm commitment to justice.
  3. It also aims at furtherance of love and self-purification.
  4. It wants not to endanger the opponent but to overwhelm him by the over flooding power of innocence.
  5. It can be used universally. From the family to the state, wherever one meets injustice and untruth, one can resort to satyagraha.
  6. Fasting, voluntary migration, civil disobedience are some techniques of Satyagraha. 
  7. A satyagrahi (one who does Satyagraha) never hurts nor does express any hatred towards the opponent. He uses his moral force to appeal to the conscience or moral sense of the opponent.
  8. A true satyagrahi would never bow before the evil, whatever the consequences.

Incidents when Gandhi used Satyagraha in India 

  1. Champaran Satyagraha- Gandhi defied the order of the authorities to leave the town and prepared to face punishment. After the enquiry and negotiations, he was successful in partial compensation to the suffering indigo peasants of Champaran under the tinkathia system.
  2. Kheda Satyagraha- Gandhi defied the British government by uniting the peasants against paying taxes and successfully managed to strike a deal with the British to return all the confiscated property and also reduce the interest rate.
  3. Ahmedabad Mill Strike- Gandhi used the technique of hunger strike and was successful in getting a wage hike for the industrial workers.
  4. Rowlatt Satyagraha- British, in the name of curbing terrorist violence, had introduced a Bill that severely curtailed the liberties of the Indians.  Gandhi called for a nation-wide hartal accompanied by fasting and praying. The movement was later suspended due to the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919.
  5. It was later used during the Non-cooperation movement, Salt satyagraha, Quit India movement and it saw partial successes like participation in 2nd RTC, negotiations under August offer-Cripps mission-Cabinet mission and INA trials.

Gandhi's satyagraha proved to be an effective means for political redress. Many of the contemporary challenges related to war and peace, terrorism, human rights, sustainable development, climate change, socio-political unrest, and politico-administrative corruption could be faced through adoption of the Gandhian Way. The twenty-first century world has much to learn from it.