Gandhi Essay: Passive Resistance or Violence?

Kaitlyn Clark
18 September 2010
Draft 1
Eric Miller
Passive Resistance or Violence?
Mahatma Gandhi dedicated his mind, body and soul to his nonviolent teachings. His main purpose was to get the world to see that violence is not the proper answer to conflicts and that passive resistance is the ultimate way to go. Gandhi addresses his teachings throughout “The Theory and Practice of Passive Resistance”, “Meaning of Satyagraha”, and also in “Religion of Nonviolence.” Personally, Gandhi’s beliefs might actually be the ideal way to go in a world without guns, planes, tanks, and bomb and where wars can be fought with words, but in today’s world, nonviolence is a practice that is meaningless and futile.
Gandhi’s teachings focus mostly on achieving a passive resistance and how to resist the urge to react to situations violently. In the “Religion of Nonviolence”, Gandhi addresses the point of nonviolence when one’s life is in danger. The poet, Raichandbhai, gave advice to Gandhi saying, “if he had the courage to see God face to face, I should let myself get bitten by a snake instead of killing it” (Gandhi 451). Why should someone put their life in danger to just merely let another being live, if it’s causing danger to themselves? I’m not saying one should kill their alleged attacker, but they should be able to defend themselves in life-threatening situations. After all of his talk on nonviolence, Gandhi then throws in the fact that he let’s his people of India kill blindly snakes and scorpions. “I could have prevented them if I had wished. But how could I? I did not have the courage to take them up with my own hands and teach my companions a lesson in fearlessness” (Gandhi 451). It just goes to show how hard it is to physically be able to become passive resistance. No individual is going to sit there and let a snake bite his or her arm without reacting. It’s almost impossible to resist a human beings brute force. It’s instinctual, unavoidable.
In “The Doctrine of...