Gandhi Defines Non-resistance in Reply to Rabbi Wolsey Query

Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the civil disobedience movement in India, wrote that “non-resistance does not mean passive submission to the will of the persecutor” in replying to a letter from Rabbi Louis Wolsey of Congregation Rodeph Shalom. The correspondence was made public here today.

The Mahatma defined non-resistance as a refusal to submit to the will of the persecutor and a preparedness to suffer the consequences of non-submission. Without prayer and humility, Mr. Gandhi’s communication said, there can be non-violence.

Rabbi Wolsey had written asking guidance “in the problem that now besets my people everywhere,” reporting that “the Jewish people are greatly divided between those who believe in utilizing the doctrine of replying to force with force and those who are impressed with your contribution to the problem of human relationship.”

“I have not a shadow of a doubt,” Mr. Gandhi answered, “that vituperation and returning evil with evil does add to the stock of evil in the world and therefore does not serve anybody.”

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