Non-violent alternatives

Non-violent Alternatives

Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition.

Non-violent protest is the act protesting against something without doing any harm.

Non-violent is the result of acting against a dictatorship regime that can result blood sheds, clashes, and any violent resistance from the government against protesters. It is also a result of avoiding any troubles against the government when the demands of the protesters don’t worth a violent revolution.

Jainism preaches the mantra “Ahimsa Parmo-Dharam” which means non-violence is the supreme religion and has very comprehensively defined non-violence to not just mean abstaining from violence but also means to have a deep reverence for life, for it believes that all life howsoever small is sacred and should be given the freedom to live.

Non-violent is a kind of resistance that is available to all, it is least likely to alienate opponents and third parties; it breaks the cycle of violence and counter-violence. It leaves open the possibility of conversion; it ensures that the media focus on the issue at hand rather than some tangential act of violence and it is the surest way of achieving public sympathy. Further, it is more likely to produce a constructive rather than a destructive outcome, it is a method of conflict resolution that may aim to arrive at the truth of a given situation.

There are three methods of Non-violent protesting which can be differentiated into many types. The three methods are non-violent persuasion, non-cooperation, and non-violent intervention.

Non-violent persuasion is the kind of protest where oppositions against the government not only protest without violent but also develop tolerance and understanding to the resistance. It is mainly symbolic acts of peaceful opposition extending beyond verbal expressions. These symbols could mainly be posters, street theatres and paintings.

The most common form of nonviolent action – involves the deliberate withdrawal of cooperation with the person, activity, institution or regime with which the activists have become engaged in conflict. This includes strikes, boycotts, and war tax resistance. Political non-cooperation also includes the acts of civil disobedience, the deliberate peaceful violation of particular laws and decrees and regulations, and support of some others which are believed to be illegitimate for some reasons. The most iconic people who aimed to resist through non-cooperation was Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination.

Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, but above all for achieving self-rule. Gandhi famously led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He attempted to practise nonviolence and truth in all situations, and advocated that others do the same.

Non-violent intervention is the act of destruction of established behaviour patterns, laws, policies, relationships or institutions which are considered wrong or objectionable, and the act of creating new behaviour patterns, policies, relationships or institutions which are preferred.  The disruption class of methods includes nonviolent occupations or blockades, fasting, seeking imprisonment and overloading facilities. The creation class of methods includes establishing alternative political, economic and social institutions such as non-hierarchical cooperatives, markets, ethical investment groups, alternative schools, energy exchange cooperatives as well as parallel media, communications and transport networks.

Types of non-violence include all the following; non-resistance which is rejecting all physical violence on principle and concentrate on maintaining their own integrity. Active Reconciliation is a Faith-based rejection of coercion and a belief in active goodwill and reconciliation. Moral Resistance is the active resistance of evil with peaceful and moral means such as education and persuasion. Selective Non-violence is the refusal to participate in a particular war or certain kind of war. Passive Resistance is when non-violent tactics are employed because of the lack of an effective violent campaign and it’s very low chances of succeeding.  Peaceful Resistance is the kind of resistance that is applied by people who believe that peaceful resistance is the most effective resistance. Non-violent Direct Action is the act of resistance and uses the non-violent as principle or practical method, which means the protest, could never turn into violent. Gandhian Non-violence (Satyagraha) Satyagraha aims to attain the truth through love and right action; it demands the elimination of violence from the self and from the social, political and economic environment. Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha is a classic example. And lastly Non-Violent revolution is a revolution using most types of civil resistance to bring about the departure of its government. A non-violent revolution is characterized by having more or broader goals than any other non-violent resistance which usually include democracy and human rights.

From 1966 to 1999 nonviolent civic resistance has played a critical role in 50 of 67 transitions from authoritarianism.

“In 1989, thirteen nations comprising 1,695,000,000 people experienced nonviolent revolutions that succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations … If we add all the countries touched by major nonviolent actions in our century (the Philippines, South Africa … the independence movement in India …), the figure reaches 3,337,400,000, a staggering 65% of humanity! All this in the teeth of the assertion, endlessly repeated that nonviolence doesn’t work in the ‘real’ world.”

— Walter Wink, Christian theologian

Nonviolent action is a technique by which people who reject passivity and submission, and who see struggle as essential, can wage their conflict without violence. Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem of how to act effectively in politics, especially how to wield powers effectively.

(Sharp, 1973,)


Sharp, G (1973). The Politics Of Non-violent Action. Finkelstein. Marina (Ed.). United States. Porter Sargent Publishers.


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