Principles of Satyagraha

Continuing the discussion of satyagraha fundaments, Chris Moore-Backman writes that nonviolence scholar Robert Burrowes says satyagraha has the following basic criteria:

  • it places a higher priority on ethics than on perceived effectiveness
  • it views means and ends as indivisible rather than separate
  • its fundamental view of conflict is that it is a shared problem rather than a case of incompatible interests
  • its adherents accept suffering rather than inflicting it
  • its adherents are likely to practice nonviolence as a way of life rather than merely as a useful expedient under certain circumstances

Burrowes says the following characteristics of satyagraha make it a revolutionary, rather than a reformist, approach:

  • its analysis is focused on structural problems in addition to policy problems
  • it aims for structural changes, rather than merely policy changes
  • it is strengthened by a constructive program
  • its operational time frame is long-term struggle rather than short or medium-term


This seems to be the approach we need for this new age of the Great Turning, as we build new structures to replace those of the Domination System.  This is why I have been so drawn to the community building work we’ve been doing in Indianapolis with the Kheprw Institute (KI), Native Americans, and others.  We need to build new social structures, instead of trying to fine tune those of an unjust system.



This entry was posted in Indigenous, Kheprw Institute, revolution, satyagraha, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Principles of Satyagraha

  1. Eleanor Hinshaw Mullendore says:

    My father, Cecil Hinshaw, spent his life living and teaching the principles of Satyagraha–he was a true disciple of Ghandi’s and one of his finest moments was walking with Vinoba Bahi (sp?) as he walked to establish land reform in India. Dad said it was the first time in his life at five ft 3 inches tall, that he was taller than everyone else! I so much appreciate your sharings and look forward to see the grown up Jeff!

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