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THE SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Vol. V - THE VOICE OF TRUTH > Part II- Section II: Means and Ends > Satyagrahi Leader


Satyagrahi Leader

The leader of every clean movement are bound to see that they admit only clean fighters to it.

Satyagraha in South Africa, (1950), p. 139


Satyagraha presupposes the living presence and guidance of God. The leader depends not on his own strength but on that of God. He acts as the voice within guides him.

Young India, 2-8-28, p. 260


Those who claim to lead the masses must resolutely refuse to be led by them, if we want to avoid mob law and desire ordered progress for the country. I believe that mere protestation of one’s opinion and surrender to the mass opinion is not only not enough, but in matters of vital importance, leaders must act contrary to the mass of opinion if it does not commend itself their reason.

Young India, 14-7-20, p. 4


In religious Satyagraha there can be no room for aggressiveness, demonstrativeness, show. Those who take part in it must have equal respect and regard for the religious convictions and susceptibilities of those who profess a different faith from theirs. The slightest narrowness in their outlook is likely to be reflected magnified multifold in the opponent.

Harijan, 27-5-39, p. 144


I have maintained that we would require a smaller army of Satyagrahis than that of soldiers trained in modern warfare, and the cost will be insignificant compared to the fabulous sums devoted by nations to armaments.

Harijan, 22-10-38, p. 298


Satyagraha by the vast mass of mankind will be impossible if they had all to assimilate the doctrine in all its implications. I cannot claim to have assimilated all it implications nor do I claim even to know them all. A soldier of an army does not know the whole of the military science; so also does a Satyagrahi not know the whole science of Satyagraha. It is enough if he trusts his commander and honestly follows his instructions and is ready to suffer unto death without bearing malice against the so-called enemy.

Harijan , 22-10-38 p. 298


I realized that before a people could be fit for offering civil disobedience, they should thoroughly understand its deeper implications. That being so, before re-starting civil disobedience on a mass scale, it would be necessary create a band of well-tried, pure-hearted volunteers who thoroughly understood the strict conditions of Satyagraha. They could explain these to the people, and by sleepless vigilance keep them on the right path.

An Autobiography, (1966), p. 357


A very small part of the preliminary training received by the military is common to the non-violent army. These are discipline, drill, singing in chorus, flag hoisting, signaling and the like. Even this is not absolutely necessary and the basis is different. The positively necessary training for a nonviolent army is an immovable faith in God, willing and perfect obedience to the chief of the non-violent army and perfect inward and outward co-operation between the units of the army.

Harijan, 12-5-46, p. 128


  There must be common honesty among Satyagrahis.

  They must render heart discipline to their commander. There should be no mental reservation.

  They must be prepared to lose all, not merely, their personal liberty, not merely their possessions, land, cash, etc. but also the liberty and possessions of their families, and they must be ready cheerfully to face bullets, bayonets, or even slow death by torture.

  They must not be violent in thought, word or deed towards the ‘enemy’ or among themselves.

Harijan, 22-10-38, p. 298


My experience has taught me that a law of progression applies to every righteous struggle. But in the case of Satyagraha the law amounts to an axiom. As a Satyagraha struggle progresses onward, many an other element helps to swell its current and there is a constant growth in the results to which it leads. This is really inevitable, and is bound up with the first principles of Satyagraha. For in the Satyagraha the minimum is also maximum, and it is the irreducible minimum, there is no question of retreat, and the only movement possible is an advance. In other struggles, even when they are righteous, the demand is first pitched a little higher so as to admit of future reduction, and hence the law of progression does not apply to all of them without exception.

The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi (1967), p. 174