February 21, 2024

HPAS/Allied Mains 2022 Answer Writing Challenge Day 18: Model Answer

Question: Discuss the Gandhian method Gandhian method of civil disobedience.? 8 MARKS (120 WORDS)



  • While in jail, Gandhi read the essay “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, a 19th-century American writer. Gandhi adopted the term “civil disobedience” to describe his strategy of non-violently refusing to cooperate with injustice, but he preferred the Sanskrit word satyagraha (devotion to truth). Following his release, he continued to protest the registration law by supporting labor strikes and organizing a massive non-violent march. Finally, the Boer government agreed to end the most objectionable parts of the registration law.


  • The idea of civil disobedience was introduced to the modern Western political theory by David Thoreau almost 150 years ago. Since that time civil disobedience has been considered as a mechanism of working democracy, one of the ways of expression of citizens’ disagreement with the authorities and a minorities disagreement with a majority, a mode of citizens’ inclusion into the functioning of democracy.
  • Relatively in our times this concept was profoundly developed by another American – John Rawls in his fundamental book ‘Theory of Justice'(1971).
  • According to Rawls, civil disobedience is “a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done with the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the government”.
  • Civil disobedience is a temporal, public and demonstrative suspension of commonly accepted social rules and regulation under the assumption of some prior agreements in the society and in the context of everyday and usual obedience.
  • Gandhi’s Contribution
  • Though it is evident that John Rawls was elaborating his conception in that particular historical period and political context when the human rights movement in the USA, largely inspired by Martin Luther King, was a part Of every day news reports and the huge satyagraha campaigns in India initiated and inspired by Gandhi.
  • Gandhi was invited in Champaran by one of the ryots to help them to change the existing order of relations between ryots and landowners. That was a system of tinkatia (hundred years old) according to which the lessees had to mark from every twenty plots of rented land for indigo.
  • It was an extremely unjust system and ryots were losing a lot because of it. The challenge was to abolish the tinkatia system in Bihar. To understand the ryots’ complaints Gandhi had to talk to thousands of them.
  • He decided to start his study of the problem with figuring out the planters opinion. However the planters association Secretary regarded him as an outlier and, roughly refused to give him any information.
  • Soon he was asked to report to the District Magistrate for refusal to leave Champaran as per the Administration’s order.
  • In the statement read for the District Magistrate Gandhi explained his decision not to comply the Administration order by his civilian duty to help the ryots and announced his readiness to “submit without protest to the penalty of disobedience.


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