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The Non-Violent Sanction

Q. What is the place of Satyagraha in making the rich realize their duty towards the poor?

A. The same as against the foreign power. Satyagraha is a law of universal application. Beginning with the family its use can be extended to every other circle. Supposing a landowner exploits his tenants and mulcts them of the fruit of their toil by appropriating it to his own use.

When they expostulate with him he does not listen and raises objections that he requires so much for his wife, so much for his children and so on.The tenants or those who have espoused their cause and have influence will make an appeal to his wife to expostulate with her husband.She would probably say that for herself she does not need his exploited money.The children will say likewise that they would earn for themselves what they need.

Supposing further that he listens to nobody or that his wife and children combine against the tenants, they will not submit.They will quit if asked to do so but they will make it clear that the land belongs to him who tills it. The owner cannot till all the land himself and he will have to give in to their just demands.It may, however, be that the tenants are replaced by others. Agitation short of violence will then continue till the replacing tenants see their error and make common cause with the evicted tenants.Thus Satyagraha is a process educating public opinion, such that it covers all the elementsofsociety and in the end makes itself irresistible. Violence interrupts the process and prolongsthe real revolution of the whole social structure.

The conditions necessary for the success of Satyagraha are:

(1)The Satyagrahi should not have any hatred in his heart against the opponent;

(2) The issue must be true and substantial; (3) The Satyagrahi must be prepared to suffer till the end for his cause.

Harijan, 31-3-1946, p. 64

Q. You say that a Raja, a zamindar or a capitalist should be a trustee for the poor. Do you think that any such exists today? Or do you expect them to be so transformed?

A.I think that some very few exist even today, though not in the full sense of the term. They are certainly moving in that direction. It can, however, be asked whether the present Rajas and others can be expected to become trustees of the poor. If they do not become trustees of their own accord, force of circumstances will compel the reform unless they court utter destruction. When Panchayat Raj is established, public opinion will do what violence can never do. The present power of the zamindars, the capitalists and the Rajas can hold sway so long as the common people do not realize their own strength. If the people non-co-operate with the evil of zamindari or capitalism, it must die of inanition. In Panchayat Raj only the Panchayat will be obeyed and the Panchayat can only work through the law of their making.

Harijan, 1-6-1947, p. 172