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Claiming Credit for Gandhi
By Thomas Weber

Everyone is influenced by his or her parents, close relatives and friends, their culture, their religion, their education, and the time in which they live. This is the background from which we all emerge. In the case of Gandhi, this has been written about in numerous sources.1 To know the Mahatma well enough to attempt to pass judgement on why he did what he did, besides the above, one must understand the social and religious traditions of Kathiawad, his native region,2 know the folk tales of peninsular Gujarat and read the Bhagavad Gita and some of the key Upanishads (especially the short Isha Upanishad) which may have been crucial in determining his make-up. Of course there are other more immediate influences on all our lives which can be later seen to have been watershed events. We cross paths with someone, or pick up a book, or attend a lecture, or become involved with some event that alters the direction of our lives. The same, naturally, is true for Gandhi.

While there will always be some debate on just how strong an influence a particular text or close associate has had on another individual, it is revealing to see, for example, how often themes and phrases from the Western texts that Gandhi read, especially during the time of his early philosophical explorations in London and South Africa (when he still had time to be building his intellectual capital), crop up in his speeches and writings even decades later. Reading Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, Ruskin's Unto this Last, Thoreau's On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, or Plato's dialogues of Socrates (especially the Apology and Crito) are genuine eye-openers in this regard—many of Gandhi's favourite sayings or examples, and even whole areas of his philosophy, have been taken almost verbatim from these sources.

In the final analysis, because of his voluminous preserved writings, Gandhi himself would appear to be of great assistance in determining the influence of others on him. However, given the perhaps surprising lack of insight (not to mention deliberate obfuscation) in much autobiographical writing, how much weight should be put on Gandhi's own words, especially when he never set out to write a comprehensive autobiography at all, merely instructive snippets for the readers of his newspapers that were later bound together as An Autobiography? And what do we make of the claim by George Woodcock, for example, that the influences of Tolstoy and Ruskin on Gandhi can be exaggerated, and indeed that Gandhi himself was inclined to do so because of his humility, and that these authors merely strengthened concepts he had held into convictions,3 and the claims of others who have gone so far as to call Tolstoy the "founder of Gandhism"?4

Some well-known influences upon Gandhi, such as Ruskin and Tolstoy, as well as Thoreau, various South African Christian missionaries, and Raychand, are discussed in his own writings.5 Others are more ephemeral. Erik Erikson and Victor Wolfenstein have written about the psychological influences that have gone into constructing Gandhi's nonviolent philosophy6 and revolutionary personality,7 Sudhir Kakar about the psycho-sexual determinants of his behaviour,8 and some new scholarship, for example, the writings of Martin Green, looks at the influence of New Age intellectuals who helped to shape the Mahatma's persona.9 Here I will examine three examples of nonviolent resistance of which Gandhi became aware at about the time that he was commencing his own political struggles in South Africa. One of them is well known and often credited for providing Gandhi with his political methodology. The other two may have been just as important in this regard but have not received similar attention.

Henry David Thoreau

In the annals of nonviolence, there are many historical examples that are included as precedents for Gandhi's own celebrated campaigns (which in turn are seen as models for more contemporary campaigns). The most often quoted is Thoreau's defiance of the American government and his essay on civil disobedience which followed it.

Many writers, particularly Americans, claim that Henry David Thoreau, anti-slavery and anti-war protestor and withholder of taxes from a government he saw as unjust, and of course the author of the authoritative essay "Civil Disobedience," had a formative influence in the development of the Mahatma.10 Gandhi himself has claimed that "the persons who have influenced my life as a whole in a general way are Tolstoy, Ruskin, Thoreau, and Raychandbhai,"11 then quickly added, "perhaps I should drop Thoreau from this list."12

It has often been assumed that Gandhi's commencement of civil disobedience in South Africa was inspired by his reading of Thoreau's' essay13 However, although it is possible that Gandhi knew of Thoreau since his London days, it appears that Gandhi in fact did not read the essay until almost a year after his key speech at the Empire Theatre in Johannesburg on 11 September 1906. On that day, 3,000 Indians had gathered to protest against the discriminatory Indian Registration Ordinance which required them to be registered, fingerprinted, and to carry registration cards at all times under fear of heavy punishment for a breach.14 During the meeting a resolution was passed calling all present to defy the provisions of the legislation. This meeting is seen in the Gandhian saga as the "birth of Satyagraha," where Gandhi first set the course for his campaigns of civil disobedience. The confusion seems to stem from some authors placing the Empire Theatre meeting in 1907, a year later than when it actually took place and others repeating the mistake so as to reverse the order of the events of the commencement of Satyagraha and Gandhi's reading of Thoreau's essay.15 Hunt, the most thorough scholar of this period of Gandhi's life, notes that Gandhi "would have published his knowledge of Thoreau earlier if he had it" because at this time "he was searching the world over for models and precedents for the new kind of action being undertaken by the Indians of Transvaal." Therefore, "it is safe to assume that his readers heard about Thoreau within a few days of Gandhi's discovery of him."16

In his essay "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau reminds his readers that "Unjust laws exist" and then asks: "shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavour to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?" His answer to the question is surely one that had great appeal to Gandhi:

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth... but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.17

And, again, in words that would have undoubtedly received Gandhi's enthusiastic approval when he read them, Thoreau instructs his reader to "cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence and proclaims that "under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison.18

Gandhi published extracts from the essay in his paper Indian Opinion on 7 and 14 September 1907 and a week later the two extracts were combined and printed as a pamphlet. On 9 November the paper announced an essay contest on "The Ethics of Passive Resistance" for which submitted papers had to contain an examination of Thoreau's essay, Tolstoy's book and "also the application of the 'Apology of Socrates' to the question." However, as Gandhi pointed out in 1935:

The statement that I had derived my idea of Civil Disobedience from the writings of Thoreau is wrong. The resistance to authority in South Africa was well-advanced before I got the essay of Thoreau on Civil Disobedience. But the movement was then known as passive resistance. As it was incomplete, I had coined the word Satyagraha for the Gujarati readers. When I saw the title of Thoreau's great essay, I began to use his phrase to explain our struggle to the English readers.19

Henry Polak, who not only introduced Gandhi to Ruskin but also was probably the person who gave him a copy of Thoreau's essay, wrote to the American press:

I cannot recall whether, early in 1907, he [Gandhi] or I first came across the volume of Thoreau's Essays. . . . but we were both of us enormously impressed by the confirmation of the Tightness of the principle of passive resistance and civil disobedience that had already been started against the objectionable laws, contained in the essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience."20

By way of summary, Seshachari points out that although Satyagraha was well-advanced when Gandhi came across Thoreau's writings, "Thoreau helped Gandhi gain greater insight into the tremendous potential of non-payment of taxes and non-cooperation." He continues by pointing out that Thoreau did more than merely provide "intellectual sustenance to Gandhi's beliefs," but possibly directly inspired Gandhi's tactic of boycotting government institutions such as schools and law courts, and the tactic of making bonfires of registration cards and later foreign cloth.21 It should be noted that the careful scholar James Hunt doubts even this. He points out that both these tactics were well known in India in Gandhi's time and did not have to be imported from the West.22

In short, it appears that the purported influence of Thoreau on Gandhi is nowhere near as great as is often claimed. However, the words of the title of the printed version of Thoreau's lecture, "civil disobedience," certainly were a boon to Gandhi who had come to reject the phrase "passive resistance" (there was nothing passive about what he was doing) and understood that "Satyagraha" was going to be a little mystifying for his Western audience.

The celebrated essay by a well-respected American and kindred spirit, certainly seemed to legitimise what Gandhi was doing and he was to go on mentioning Thoreau's dictum about the imprisonment of the just under unjust governments, for the rest of his life. This, however, was backing support and Thoreau's essay cannot be regarded as a causal influence of Gandhi's actions.

The Suffragettes

Gandhi also had encounters with the English suffragettes in London just weeks after the Empire Theatre meeting, and wrote at length about them and their tactics. Hunt notes that Gandhi had admiration for the English and their women and that he received "significant assistance from a contemporary women's movement at a point when he was formulating his own philosophy of nonviolent action"23 and that this "yielded valuable results which assisted considerably in the maturing and development of his work."24

In late 1906 Gandhi's movement for the rights of South African Indians had been announced but had not yet commenced. In a final act of constitutional lobbying before commencing the campaign of active resistance, Gandhi spent six weeks in London to present his case to the British authorities. During this visit the women's suffrage movement reached new heights of militancy "employing tactics and seeking goals strikingly similar to his own."25

Three days after his arrival, the Women's Social and Political Union held a demonstration in the House of Commons, resulting in the arrest of eleven of their number. After refusing to pay their fines, the women were sentenced to three months' imprisonment. This was the largest number arrested in the year-long increasingly militant campaign. This was not lost on Gandhi who wrote an article for Indian Opinion a few days later. He has one of the main protesters announcing that

I shall never obey any law in the making of which I have had no hand; I will not accept the authority of the court executing those laws; if you send me to gaol, I will go there, but I shall on no account pay a fine. I will not furnish any security either.

He then ties this determination to inevitable success, success that the South African Indians could also achieve with the adoption of similar tactics:

Today the whole country is laughing at them, and they have only a few people on their side. But undaunted, those women work on steadfast in their cause. They are bound to succeed and gain the franchise, for the simple reason that deeds are better than words. Even those who laughed at them would be left wondering. If even women display such courage, will the Transvaal Indians fail in their duty and be afraid of gaol? Or would they rather consider the gaol a palace and readily go there? When the time comes, India's bonds will snap off themselves.26

Following his return to South Africa in December, Gandhi kept up to date with the suffragette campaigns in London and continued to write about them. Following large-scale arrests during marches on Parliament in March 1907, Gandhi wrote that "we have to follow the example of the women referred to above. They go to gaol, though they are few in number, and thus draw the attention of the world to their cause."27 He used the example of the sacrifice of the suffragettes to shame his followers into courageous action: "While English women do manly deeds, shall we, though men, behave like women...? In a few days our mettle will be tested."28

In 1909, the now long-standing civilly disobedient Gandhi was again in London pushing the cause of the South African Indians. During the 18 weeks he spent there, he finally met members of the women's movement and attended their rallies at a time when the movement was taking a more violent turn with the resisting of arrest, stone throwing, window breaking, hunger strikes in prison and even arson. Gandhi lauded the commitment and actions of the English suffragettes as examples for Satyagraha, however their violence now made them problematic as a model. To get around this problem, in his earlier writings he did not inform his audience of everything they may have done, omitting references to their destruction of property: "The systematic way in which they set about their work and their skill deserve the highest commendation," and "when we consider the suffering and the courage of these women, how can the Indian Satyagrahis stand comparison with them?"29

Later, he voiced his concern at what he saw as the impatience of some of the women, noting that it will prove self-defeating in the long-run:

Some of these women have grown impatient. It is, of course, an admirable thing that they should go to goal. No one can have anything to say against their inviting suffering on themselves... If the British women mean to fight in the spirit of Satyagraha, they cannot adopt tactics (such as breaking windows). There is no room for impatience in Satyagraha. Those who want the franchise are in a minority, whereas the majority of women oppose the demand; so the minority has no option but to suffer for a long time. If demoralized by suffering, they take to extreme measures and resort to violence, they will lose whatever sympathy they have and set the people against themselves.30

Eventually he was to realise that the violence was not merely the action of a few who had grown impatient but that it had become part of the strategy of the campaigning for some of the leading suffragettes. He noted that as the English respected violence, these tactics may in fact succeed in a limited way but could never bring about any meaningful transformation31 and may even endanger the whole social fabric.32

Although on the question of violence he parted company with them,33 as Hunt points out, the suffragettes provided Gandhi with an important precedent to cite and a political model to examine. "It was a living example of the organization of a campaign for rights."34 He studied their tactics and methods with interest, first, in 1906 when he needed inspirational examples, he emphasised their courage and faith as a moral model.35 Later, in 1909 when he was in the midst of his own campaign of civil disobedience, he became more concerned with operational aspects of the suffragettes struggle-fundraising, organisation, and publications.36

Hunt notes that Gandhi's debt to the suffragettes has never been fully appreciated. He points out that while neither the women activists Gandhi came to know about and observe in London, nor indeed any other Western model, can claim to be the immediate and direct author of what became known as Satyagraha, Gandhi often talked about the example of the suffragettes to encourage his South African Indian followers-and was doing so more than a year before he discovered Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience".37

Ferenc Deak

Another possibly influential example of what was then called "passive resistance" of which Gandhi became aware at the time he first read Thoreau, and referred to with favour, was the movement, led by Ferenc (Francis) Deak, of nonviolent resistance by the Hungarians to despotic Austrian rule in the 1850s and 60s. Although this movement is mentioned in the early classics of nonviolence literature, and even hailed as the "first mass or corporate form of nonviolent resistance,"38 the possible influence it had on Gandhi's own thinking seems to have escaped attention.

When Gandhi was still at the beginning of his life as a political activist, having moved beyond mere lobbying and legal petitioning, he attempted to put the case for what would become known as Satyagraha (his method of creed- rather than mere policy-based nonviolent activism) before his constituents, the Transvaal Indians. In a 1907 article in his South African newspaper Indian Opinion, he wrote on "The Benefits of Passive Resistance" pointing out some notable instances. He explained how the Irish Sinn Fein movement was organising a peaceful campaign of self-suffering that would see Irish members withdrawing from the British parliament and a boycotting of British courts and goods. He believed that through such measures "without any violent struggle taking place the British would ultimately be obliged, or might agree, to grant Home Rule to Ireland, or would quit Ireland, and the Irish people would have an absolutely independent government."39

The Irish struggle (as he saw it unfolding then) was a prototype of Gandhi's later campaign to free India from the British yoke. The Irish movement, in turn, had its antecedents in Hungary:

This movement had its roots in Austria-Hungary in the south of Europe. Austria and Hungary were two separate countries. But Hungary was under the rule of Austria and was always exploited by it. To discomfit Austria, a Hungarian named Dick40 taught the people that they should not pay any taxes to Austria, should not serve any Austrian officers, and even forget the very name of Austria. Though the Hungarians were very weak, this kind of spirit enabled them in the end to assert themselves against Austria. Now Hungary is not regarded as subject to Austria, but claims parity with it.

During his visit to London in October and November of 1906, Gandhi was honing his political philosophy. He met with old friends, including vegetarians and theosophists, and studied the actions of the idealist rational Ethical Society and, as already mentioned, the suffragettes.41 If he was not aware of it already, it may be a fair assumption that Gandhi came to know of Hungary's nonviolent resistance campaign at this time through discussing the political situation in Ireland. By the time of his London visit, the Irish Sinn Fein party had been formed to wrest independence, or at least home rule, from Britain. In 1904, one of the founders of the party and leading Irish nationalist, Arthur Griffith had published an influential little book on the Hungarian passive resistance movement and how it could serve as a model for the Irish struggle.42 While there is no direct evidence that Gandhi had read Griffith's book, the tone of the above quote and the fact that it is coupled with his note on Sinn Fein tends to indicate that he at least knew of the main arguments that it contained. His article on Deak and Hungary's resistance to Austria appeared a year after this visit. We do not know how soon before the publication of the article was originally written or when or if the book had come into his possession. It is possible that he only learned about the Hungarian passive resistance campaign shortly before the article went to press. Guesses as to the timing or immediate source of this knowledge are mere speculation. Nevertheless it can be assumed that the Irish question, and the possible direction the "Home Rulers" could take given the Hungarian example, was discussed in the circles in which he moved in London. Later, many of the early Gandhi-following writers on nonviolence were to make much of Griffith's book and the Hungarian example.43

The campaign is summarised by Griffith in a way that with a few minor changes could easily have characterised Gandhi's major Indian civil disobedience campaigns:

When the Austrian tax collector came to gather the taxes the people did not beat him or hoot him-they declined to pay him, assuring him he was a wholly illegal person. The tax collector thereupon called in the police and the police seized the man's goods. Then the Hungarian auctioneer declined to auction them, and an Austrian of his profession had to be brought down. When he arrived he discovered he would have to bring bidders from Austria also. The Austrian government found in time that it was costing more to fail to collect the taxes than the taxes, if they were collected. In the hope of breaking the spirit of the Hungarians, the Austrians decreed that soldiers should be billeted upon them. The Hungarians did not resist the decree but the Austrian soldier, after a little experience of the misery of living in the house of a man who despises you, very strongly resisted it...

Austria strove to encounter the Passive Resistance of Hungary by ordaining..., "exclusive trading" illegal. The Hungarians despised the ordinance and pursued their policy, occasioning much filling of jails with "village ruffians," "demagogues," and other disreputable people who disturb the peace of a country which a stronger country desires to rob. Yet a few months of the jail-filling process, Austria found herself in another cul-de-sac.44

The Resurrection of Hungary was a propaganda piece rather than a scholarly historical work. It was written to inspire Irish nonviolent resistance to the British, but was equally useful for others, like Gandhi, who were engaged in their own civil disobedience struggles, and eventually to those wanting to popularise Gandhian-style nonviolent resistance generally. It provided a lineage, an incorruptible and humble hero, many quotable quotes, and, most importantly, a story of success.

In Griffith's account Deak, who had retired from overt political activity following the revolt against Austria in 1848-49 and who from the mid-1850s was living in the Queen of England (Angol Kiralyno) hotel in Pest, was an annoyance to the Austrians by his mere presence and his continual statements that he was loyal to the Hungarian Constitution which had not legally been abolished. His simple presence seemed to give the populace hope and fanned their nationalist feelings. He was the spokesman of the country which kept hotter heads in check, conducted negotiations with the emperor, and authored the declarations by the Hungarian parliament (when it was able to sit), and to whom the Hungarian people turned to for advice. When Austria was threatened by wars for which it needed Hungarian support, it made concessionary moves. When the threat of war receded, repression resumed. Throughout, the message of Deak was the same: the lawful Hungarian Constitution of 1848 is still in force and as soon as the Austrians recognised this and allowed Hungarians to run their own affairs in line with the Constitution, they would receive Hungarian friendship and loyalty. In this account, Deak, while smoking his pipe and talking with friends in his hotel room, not only makes proclamations very reminiscent of Gandhi's statements fifty years in the futyre, but seems to be almost a prototype Mahatma.

When the boycotting Hungarians refused to take their place in the "Imperial Parliament", according to Griffith, the parliament becomes "a topic for laughter throughout Europe," and Austria was forced "into the humiliating position of a butt for Europe's jests."45 Further, the Times noted that "passive resistance can be so organised as to become more troublesome than armed rebellion."46 In 1866, when Austria faced defeat at the hands of the Prussians, a "pale and haggard" emperor Franz Josef sent for Deak in another attempt to ensure the loyalty of his Hungarian subjects:

What am I to do now, Deak?," the monarch asked of his opponent. Deak's laconic reply is celebrated in Austrian history, "Make peace, and restore Hungary her rights." "If I restore Hungary her Constitution now, will Hungary help me to carry on the war?" the Emperor inquired. The reply of Deak exhibits the fearless and uncompromising character of the great Magyar. It was in one word, "No." He would not make the restoration of his country's rights a matter of barter.47

By the following February the Austrians had to capitulate. In the Compromise of 1867, the Habsburg emperor was crowned monarch of Hungary, which became an equal partner in the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy. Eighteen years after the uprising to defend the constitution, eighteen years of oppression and appeasement, and passive resistance, Deak had triumphed and the emperor came to Pest to restore the Constitution of 1848 "and pledge himself as King of Hungary to defend it with his life."48 Deak refused public office but consented to stay on in parliament as a simple member. He declined any honour from the new king, requesting only that on his death Franz Josef would say "Francis Dedk was an honest man."49 The Hungarian resistance, as portrayed by Griffith, was the very type of example Gandhi was looking for as he was forging his own methodology of struggle.50 And Griffith's story of Deak, like the example of the jail- going Thoreau, must have made an impression on one who in childhood was so deeply touched by the story of the mythical hero Harishchandra who suffered many ordeals in his total commitment to the principle of honesty.51


Of course there were outside influences on Gandhi-they play on everyone. Perhaps to the degree that Gandhi did build on historical examples he was aware of, the London Suffragettes and Deak and the Hungarian example, through the writing of Griffith, had as much influence on his earliest campaigns as Thoreau had. It would appear that Gandhi came across the history of Hungarian resistance at about the same time as he read Thoreau-he writes about them both for the first time in the same issue of his paper52—but the Hungarian forerunner, in particular, has simply not been caught up in the evolution of the Gandhi story.

While Thoreau may have furnished backing theory for resistance to the state and a practical personal example of carrying it out, the Deak-inspired Hungarians provided a mass popular example. Although Gandhi does not mention the Hungarian resistance again in his writings, there does not appear to be much more reason for the claim that Thoreau was instrumental in molding Gandhi the nonviolent activist than Hungarians could claim for the influence of their history of resistance if they were so inclined. It also seems that the feminists have not had as strong a need to stake a claim to having helped shape the Mahatma as some Thoreau supporters did. As with the Hungarians, if they were so inclined, they could mount just as strong a case for claiming credit for Gandhi.

Notes and References:
  1. See, for example, Chandran D.S. Devanesen, The Making of the Mahatma (New Delhi: Orient Longmans, 1969).
  2. See, for example, Howard Spodek, "On the Origins of Gandhi's Political Methodology." The Heritage of Kathiawad and Gujarat," Journal of Asian Studies, 1970-71, Vol.30, pp. 361-372; and Stephen N.Hay, "Jain Influences on Gandhi's Early Thought," in Sibnarayan Ray ed., Gandhi, India, and the World (Melbourne: The Hawthorn Press, 1970), pp.29-38.
  3. George Woodcock, Gandhi (London: Fontana, 1972), p.25.
  4. Pyarelal, Mahatma Gandhi: The Early Phase (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1965), Vol. I, p.707.
  5. See Thomas Weber, Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 19-53.
  6. Erik H.Erikson, Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence (New York: Norton, 1969).
  7. E.Victor Wolfenstein, The Revolutionary Personality: Lenin, Trotsky, Gandhi (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971).
  8. Sudhir Kakar, Intimate Relations: Exploring Indian Sexuality (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989).
  9. Martin Green, Gandhi: Voice of a New Age Revolution (New York: Continuum, 1993).
  10. See, for example, A.L.Hermann "Satyagraha: A New Indian Word for Some Old Ways of Western Thinking," Philosophy East and West, pp. 123-142,1969, Vol. 19.
  11. Raychand was a Jain friend of Gandhi and the nearest he had to a religious guru. Raychand gave the young South African Gandhi faith in his own religion at a time of spiritual uncertainty.
  12. Letter to Premabehn Kantak, 17 January 1931.
  13. See C.Seshachari, Gandhi and the American Scene: An Intellectual History and Inquiry (Bombay: Nachiketa, 1969), p. 17.
  14. See M.K.Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa (Madras: S.Ganesan, 1928), pp. 160- 173.
  15. See, for example, George Hendrick, "The Influence of Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience' on Gandhi's Satyagraha," New England Quarterly, Vol. 29, December 1956, pp. 462-471 at p. 465; and George Hendrick, "Influence of Thoreau and Emerson on Gandhi's Satyagraha," Gandhi Marg, 1959, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 165-178. And perhaps in addition it has resulted from "a sense of Western superiority". See James D.Hunt, "Thoreau and Gandhi: a Re-evaluation of the Legacy", Gandhi Marg, 1970, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 325-332.
  16. James D. Hunt, "Thoreau and Gandhi," p. 328.
  17. Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Civil Disobedience (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), pp.258-259.
  18. Thoreau, Walden and Civil Disobedience, pp. 260-261.
  19. Gandhi to P. Kodanda Rao, 10 September 1935.
  20. Letter to the New York Evening Post, 1 1 May 1931.
  21. See Seshachari, Gandhi and the American Scene, pp. 22-23.
  22. Hunt, "Thoreau and Gandhi," p. 329.
  23. James D. Hunt, "Suffragettes and Satyagraha," Indo-British Review, 1981, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 65-76 at p. 65.
  24. Hunt, "Suffragettes and Satyagraha," p. 75.
  25. Ibid., p. 65; and James D.Hunt, Gandhi in London (New Delhi: Promilla, 1978), p. 102.
  26. "Deeds Better than Words," Indian Opinion, 24 November 1906.
  27. "Transvaal Asiatic Ordinance," Indian Opinion, 30 March 1907.
  28. "When Women are Manly, Will Men be Effeminate?," Indian Opinion, 23 February 1907.
  29. "London," Indian Opinion, 28 August 1909.
  30. "London", Indian Opinion, 9 October 1909, See also "London", Indian Opinion, 23 October 1909.
  31. Hunt, Gandhi in London, p. 141, Hunt, "Suffragettes and Satyagraha," p. 74; and "London," Indian Opinion, 13 November 1909.
  32. "London," Indian Opinion, 30 October 1909.
  33. Later, when he had clarified the terminology, he was to characterise the actions of the suffragettes as passive resistance but not Satyagraha. See "Satyagraha-Not Passive Resistance," written about 2 September 1917; and "Satyagraha", Navajivan, 14 September 1919.
  34. Hunt, "Suffragettes and Satyagraha," p. 73.
  35. See, for example, "Brave Women," Indian Opinion, 28 December 1907.
  36. See, for example, "London," Indian Opinion, 28 August 1909; "London," Indian Opinion, 6 November 1909; and "London," Indian Opinion, 4 December 1909.
  37. 3 7. Hunt, Gandhi in London, p. 103.
  38. Most of the early sources on the history of nonviolence give the Hungarian case as their first example. However, Bhattacharyya explicitly calls it the first action of its type. See Buddhadeva Bhattacharyya, The Evolution of the Political Philosophy of Gandhi (Calcutta: Calcutta Book House, 1969), p.286.
  39. "Benefits of Passive Resistance—Notable Instances," Indian Opinion, 1 September 1907.
  40. This article was written in Gujarati and the editors of Gandhi's Collected Works presumably translated it into English without knowing who Deak was. The Hungarian pronunciation of the name is something like "Dey- ak."
  41. See Hunt, Gandhi in London, pp. 99-104.
  42. Arthur Griffith, The Resurrection of Hungary: A Parallel for Ireland (Dublin: Whelan and Son, 1904). Here I am using the 3rd, 1908 edition. At the same time, the Hungarian example was being touted in Finland as a model ror resisting Russian oppression. See Steven Duncan Huxley, Constitutionalist Insurgency in Finland: Finnish Passive Resistance against Russificanon as a Case of Nonmilitary Struggle in the European Resistance Tradition (Helsinki: SHS, 1990), pp. 106-119.
  43. For example, Richard B.Gregg starts his classic 1934 book The Power outstanding successful modern examples of nonviolence that took on a mass, rather than individual form, "the first to be considered occurred in Hungary during the mid-nineteenth century". The Power of Nonviolence (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1934), pp. 1-2.
  44. Griffith, The Resurrection of Hungary, p. 32.
  45. Ibid., p. 33.
  46. Ibid., p. 34.
  47. Ibid., p. 50.
  48. Ibid., p. 63.
  49. Ibid., p. 67.
  50. For a detailed examination of the movement and De&k's role in it, see Tamas Csapody and Thomas Weber, "Hungarian Passive Resistance Against Austria and its Place in the History of Nonviolence" (forthcoming).
  51. See M.K.Gandhi, An Autobiography: Or The Story of My Experiments With Truth (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1940), p. 6.
  52. See "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," and "Duty of Disobeying Laws [1]," Indian Opinion, 7 September 1907.
Courtesy: Gandhi Marg, Volume 27, Number 2, July-September 2005

Thomas Weber is an honorary associate at the Department of Politics, Legal Studies and Philosophy, La Trobe University, Melbourne. | Email: