The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical force. The dignity of men requires obedience to a higher law—the struggle of the spirit. Non-violence is a perfect state. It is the goal towards which all mankind moves naturally, though unconsciously”.
Gandhi’s technique of non-violence was aimed at promoting social change. He opined that “It is a soul force or truth force or truth-seeking force. It is in short satyagraha which means resistance to evil with the moral and spiritual force or firmness in the indication of Truth”.
However, Gandhi did not foreclose the option of violence. If one is caught in between inflicting violence and acting in cowardly manner, Gandhi favored the use of violence. To him “It is better to be a soldier than to be a coward”.
He also cautioned that non-violence was to be used only by those who were capable of using violence effectively but they deliberately restrained from doing so.
Critique of Modern Civilization:
Gandhi’s’ “Hind Swaraj” written in a discursive format presents an alternative to the challenging sway of science and technology in human life. He analyzes the practical questions confronting Indian society and presents moral solutions to them.
According to Gandhi, much of the appalling conditions of contemporary times are product of European enlightenment. The crude materialism as standard of life and prevalence of immorality in the name of morality has been brought about by modern civilization.
To him, British parliament is a “sterile woman” and party politics is pity politics which aims at securing individual interest at the cost of social or general interest.
Civilization to Gandhi is a mode of conduct which gives them a sense of duty. Duty is inseparably dependent on morality. He points out how our criteria of judgment get confined to our own notion of good. For “good to be of universal significance must be backed by morality”.
Gandhi denounces the way of modern means of communication like railways and professionalization of occupation as crippling human minds and degenerating their potentialities.
He holds that treating religion as superstition has further complicated the situation. On the contrary, we points out that religion remain the everyday aspect of life unifying humanity.