Skip to main content


Oct 1, 2012


Sarah Ellen Graham

India’s great nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi coined the term satyagraha as a philosophy of non-violent political struggle in 1906, while he was engaged in the early anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. His political philosophy, refined over subsequent years as he returned to India to lead its struggle against British imperialism, had far-reaching impacts. Gandhi’s philosophy helped to fuel independence struggles not only in South Africa, but in India, a host of other post-colonial countries, as well as the African-American civil rights movement in the United States.

Initially framed as “sadagraha,” a portmanteau of the Gujarati words sad (truth) and agraha(firmness), Gandhi slightly modified the term to satyagrahasatya meant both truth/soul and love. Today the term is often translated as “non-violent resistance,” and Gandhian philosophy is most readily associated with techniques of non-violent civil action. But the more appropriate translation of satyagraha is something akin to “soul force,” “truth force,” or “firmness in truth.” This fundamental attachment to promoting change through truth might be seen as the enlightening side of Gandhi’s doctrine: non-violent resistance lays bare the reality of tyranny, but firmness in truth directs our efforts toward a process of engagement and enlightenment that will ultimately bring about political change and social harmony. In noting this truth-telling element of satyagraha, we can look at Mahatma Gandhi in a new way, as a significant figure in both the history and theory of public diplomacy.

As an innovator of public diplomacy practice, Gandhi’s attachment to truth force and his awareness that favorable coverage in the global media of his time, particularly the relatively new medium of photojournalism, shows his sense of the significant role that public opinion could play in the decision-making of target nations. Photogenic and possessing a flair for finding affecting scenarios in which to be photographed, by the early 1930s Gandhi’s image was reportedly as well known as that of Mickey Mouse. He was a pioneer in cultivating foreign public opinion in the service of political objectives articulated outside the formal sphere of government. In addition to encouraging the numerous journalists that he had invited to India in order to cover his movement, Gandhi also maintained longstanding correspondences with opinion leaders in Britain and the United States. The latter—a diverse group of influential people including preachers, writers, African-American leaders, and academics—were believed by Gandhi to be vital for his cause, as interlocutors who could relate the fundamental issues in India’s struggle for freedom to an American context.

Gandhi’s engagement of American ex-missionaries who had proselytized in India and with American clergy who had not visited India but sympathized with its freedom struggle was a particularly important part of his public diplomacy strategy in the U.S. Gandhi’s great respect for other faiths and the truth-seeking imperatives of satyagraha mandated that he seek philosophical and theological common ground with representatives of American Christianity. But the cultivation of American religious leaders was also an inspired public diplomacy strategy. Christian spokespeople for the Indian nationalist struggle were able to bridge for their audiences the religious gulf between Indians and Americans, priming the latter to express their support for Gandhi’s political goals. The Indian National Congress also adopted an exchange-of-persons policy in support of its effort to cultivate American public opinion. Rabindranath Tagore, the famed Indian poet who had won the Nobel Prize in 1913, travelled to the United States several times between 1912 and 1929 and spoke on political causes. The Indian National Congress also sent the author Lala Lajpat Rai and former Bombay Chronicle subeditor Syud Hossain to the United States for long stretches of time to act as representatives of the independence movement available to appear in the U.S. media.

The philosophical precepts of satyagraha pose some interesting questions for public diplomacy as a mode of political and cultural engagement between societies. Premised on the equality and autonomy of all people, and celebrating the capacity for all faiths and traditions to encompass elements of truth, Gandhi’s philosophy stresses the importance of communication processes on a number of levels. Within the exercise of satyagraha, the claims of the oppressed in society must be articulated to those in power in order to disrupt established regimes of domination and injustice. Dialogue is necessary to move from the partial truths experienced by individuals to a wider truth drawn from multiple perspectives. Public diplomacy—particularly cultural diplomacy and educational exchange—conceptualized as a reciprocal process that aims to found international relationships in genuine mutual understanding, suggests the possibility of achieving shared truth and the adjustment of competing political claims in a similar fashion. The possibility of establishing further ties between the philosophy of satyagraha and this conceptualization of public diplomacy may highlight the value of public diplomacy as an instrument of peace and humanitarianism, and is a worthy subject for investigation into the future


Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…