Non-violent Resistance - Second Fourth: Vykom Satyagraha Summary & Analysis

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Second Fourth: Vykom Satyagraha Summary and Analysis

The Vykom Satyagraha is undertaken to get the government to allow "untouchables" to use roads around the temple in Vykom in Travancore, South India. Gandhi argues that the Vykom campaign provides an interesting study in Satyagraha because of how calmly it proceeds. Gandhi defies his critics on either side, arguing that the campaign is just. The Satyagrahis do not attack the whole system but instead are simply fighting prejudice. Gandhi also defends his decision to not send aid from outside Travancore. He argues that the local Hindi must solve the problem and that untouchability is a Hindu sin. The untouchables cannot receive aid because the people of Vykom must embrace Satyagraha of their own will.

Gandhi next notes that various authorities in Vykom have objected to Satyagraha in Vykom. Next follows a sub-section which notes that the Vykom Satyagraha has entered its last stage. Violence brews and the Satyagrahis must retain their commitments. Gandhi maintains that the Vykom struggle must embrace all parts of Satyagraha and that Satyagrahis must not lose hope. The Vykom Satyagrahis must fight against age-old wrong and prejudice.

The following sub-section is a verbatim report from a talk Gandhi gives to prisoners at the Satyagraha Ashram at Vykom. The prisoners are arrested for barricading a temple where untouchables are usually not allowed to pray. Gandhi maintains that the Hindus are fighting to remove from their religion its greatest fault. He continues to exhort his followers to practice the extreme sacrifice required by Satyagraha. They must see themselves as soldiers and see themselves as examples of unselfishness.

Finally, Gandhi addresses the worry that the "unapproachables" are growing restless and losing faith in Satyagraha, but Satyagraha works slowly and must not be rejected. He later finds that the Vykom Satyagrahis are maintaining the faith. The implications of the Vykom Satyagraha are profound; the short-term goal is opening the roads surrounding the temple but ultimately "untouchability" must be removed entirely. Compulsion must be avoided in ending untouchability as well; drastic steps are required but not violent ones. Gandhi ends by maintaining that the religious Satyagrahi must do whatever they can to avoid mixing selfish motives with those that come from Satyagraha. Aggressiveness and resentment must not show.

This section contains 382 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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