Origin of Satyagraha

He traveled to London to meet the Colonial Secretary of the British Government to present the case of the Indians.  But in 1907, the Transvaal Parliament passed what was called the ‘Asiatic Registration Act’ and it was against the good interests of the Indians in South Africa.

It was, for the Indians, a Black Act, and Gandhi pledged support for the movement of the Indians to oppose the Act. Gandhi criticized the Registration Act and suggested certain amendments. He supported and organized passive resistance, picketing of Permit Offices.

He had read Tolstoy and Thoreau’s use of the term ‘civil disobedience’. It did not seem to express his concept of ahimsa (non-violence) as a positive use of the phrase ‘passive resistance’. The concept was now clearly formulated in his mind, but the word to describe it was wanting.

His cousin Makhanlal Gandhi suggested sadagraha, and Gandhi liked it. But he changed it to satyagraha, which became his famous tool of ahimsa with which he fought not only the British but his own countrymen too to great effect and absolute success.

The British rulers of Transvaal and the government decide to prosecute Gandhi. He was asked to leave Transvaal, which he did not and so he was prosecuted and sentenced for two moths of imprisonment.