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Gandhi’s Satyagraha: Exploring Non-Violent Alternatives for Effective Political Resistance and Transformation

Challenges confronting our contemporary world like terrorism, populism, and religious pluralism recommend revisiting Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha. Both this concept as well as his ecumenical opening for the religious plurality stem from his time in South Africa (1893-1914). Our project discusses Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha (practice of non-violent resistance), its historical development, its relevance for transformation in South Arica, and also its limits. A first part of the project reflects on satyagraha from the perspective of Girard’s mimetic anthropology focusing especially on mimetic rivalry as a main cause of human violence and addressing the religious roots of Gandhi’s concept. A second part of the project investigates Gandhi’s reading of the Hebrew Bible with a special focus on the Book of Daniel and its answers to persecution. A third part engages with Gandhi’s contribution to an interreligious theology. It will especially deal with Gandhi’s problematic understanding of Judaism addressing therefore relevant limits of satyagraha. Limits will also be addressed in the fourth part of this project that discusses satyagraha from a feminist perspective. It will focus on the role of gender and compare Gandhi’s non-violence with Winnie Mandela’s violent struggle.


Fellows involved in this project

The Netherlands
Fellow, Visiting scholar
South Africa

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Related publications

Book/Book Chapter

du Toit, Louise, Ephraim Meir, Ed Noort and Wolfgang Palaver. Eds.. 2023. Nonviolence and Religion. MDPI.

Journal Article

Weisse, Wolfram and Ephraim Meir. 2022. Dialogical Theology and Dialogical Practice. Scriptura, 121(1), 1–16.

Journal Article

Meir, Ephraim. 2022. Gandhi and Buber on Individual and Collective Transformation. Religions, 13(7), 600.

Journal Article

Noort, Ed. 2022. Gandhi and the World of the Hebrew Bible: The Case of Daniel as Satyagrahi. Religions, 13(9), 859.

Journal Article

Du Toit, Louise. 2022. Gandhi and the Gender of Nonviolent Resistance. Religions, 13(467), 1–18.

Journal Article

Noort, Ed. 2022. Gandhi’s Use of Scriptures: A Hermeneutic of Nonviolence against Letters That Kill. Religions, 13(2), 153.

Journal Article

Palaver, Wolfgang. 2021. Gandhi’s Militant Nonviolence in the Light of Girard’s Mimetic Anthropology. Religions, 12(11), 988.


Journal Article

Meir, Ephraim. 2021. The Non-Violent Liberation Theologies of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mahatma Gandhi. Religions, 12(10), 855.

Journal Article

Meir, Ephraim. 2021. Gandhi’s View on Judaism and Zionism in Light of an Interreligious Theology. Religions, 12(7), 489.

Journal Article

Du Toit, Louise and Jana Vosloo. 2021. When Bodies Speak Differently: Putting Judith Butler in Conversation with Mahatma Gandhi on Nonviolent Resistance. Religions, 12(8), 627.

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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].