Nvc and the Legacy of Gandhi Nonviolence –Ahimsa and Satyagraha – positive meaning, transcending any inner limitations to opening our hearts


Focus on what we want to create, not just what we oppose (e.g. constructive program and vision implementation)



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6. Focus on what we want to create, not just what we oppose (e.g. constructive program and vision implementation).

  • In the 1930 Salt Satyagraha (response to the law forbidding Indians to make their own salt) Gandhi leads a march to the sea to claim the fee salt – focus on self-sufficiency and independence, not just on boycott (Gandhi the Man p. 70)

  • Obstructive program: On July, August and September, 1921, were to be devoted to concentrate people’s attention on attaining complete boycott of foreign cloth. On July 31st, 1921 Gandhi ceremoniously celebrated the bonfire of foreign cloth in Elphinston Mill Compound in Mumbai. May women and men responded Gandhi’s call for boycott of foreign cloth by burning their choicest silk and finest foreign clothes. This marked the entry of women into politics and public life. He said: “Mumbai the beautiful lit yesterday a fire which must remain ever alive…”. (Gandhi and Mani Bhavan. p.11)

  • One day in 1940 a young Indian importuned Gandhi, “What will it really take to get the British off our backs?” Gandhi replied brightly, “Phenomenal progress in spinning.” (SNVF. p.177)

  • Constructive programme is a Solar System and the charkha [spinning wheel] is the Sun”. (SNVF. p.183)

The bonfire lit in Mumbai by Gandhi spread all over the land, along with tens of thousands of charkhas.

Gandhi’s most important contributions to the theory and practice of nonviolence social change is: CONSTRUCTIVE PROGRAMS (a.k.a. constructive work, constructive effort, and constructive activities, or social revolution). His fundamental concept was that the haves and have-nots could unite in constructive work, and in that join effort they would free themselves from social divisions and lead the nation to freedom.

In Gandhi’s own words: “The constructive programme may otherwise and more fittingly be called construction of Poorna Swaraj or complete Independence by truthful and non-violent means. Let us now examine the items which constitute the constructive programme:”




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