4th International Course, 2014 -15

Gandhian Nonviolence: Theory and Application

Part A:  Rationale of the Programme

As the title suggests, the overall purpose of the course is to give its seekers orientation in the theoretical and practical dimensions of Nonviolence as explained and applied by Mahatma Gandhi in his personal and public life. However, the course content will not be limited to the Gandhian framework only; the examples and interpretations of other practitioners of nonviolence will also be relied upon. 

We know that the contemporary world is in turmoil. The chief characteristic of the contemporary world is violence; escalating and intensifying violence has become the key defining feature in public life and discourse. Terrorism and war on terrorism mark the worst manifestations of violence and has created a new discourse. Some of the sensitive people in the west even ask: Are we facing End –Time? The more pertinent question, of course, is how we address and get out of the vicious circle of violence. It is here that Gandhi steps in with his message of all-embracing nonviolence or ahimsa.

It is well known that there is a growing interest world-wide, particularly in the west, on Gandhi and his theory and practice of nonviolence. Peace activists are trying to understand Gandhian nonviolence in order to equip themselves better in their struggle for peace and justice. Many of them have expressed their desire to get a formal training in Gandhian nonviolence in India which would expose them not only to the life, philosophy and method of Gandhi but also to Indian social life and culture.

The duration of the course will be one semester i.e., four months - two months for theoretical input and two for gaining practical experience. Though Gujarat Vidyapith campus will serve as the main/central venue, the students will be taken out other Gandhian Institutions and Ashrams in partial fulfilment of the course requirement. The details of such visits and stay will be worked out from time to time by the Course Coordinator and will be communicated to the students at the beginning of the course. 

Part B:  Course Structure and Regulations

v      The first two months of the programme will cover the academic parts and will be held in Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State < >. The participants, after two months of orientation in Vidyapith will be taken out to stay in Gandhian institutions like Gandhi Research Foundation Jalgaon (www.gandhifoundation. net.  >Jalgaon) Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya (Institute of Total Revolution),Vedchi, Gujarat, Sewagram Ashram (the main Ashram where Gandhi lived and worked since 1936   < >),  Wardha, Maharashtra State,  Lok Bharati Gramvidyapith, Sanosara, Bhavanagar District, Gujarat State (which is a rural  centre for Gandhian education focussing on integrated rural reconstruction ),  Centre for Science for Villages, Wardha (a centre for rural and appropriate technology  < >), one Naturopathy Centre, one Organic Farming place, for a period of five to ten days (stay) in each place, to observe, study and participate in the applications of various Gandhian principles. There will, of course, be interaction and exposure sessions.

v     The participants will be accompanied by the Course Coordinator and/or another faculty member throughout the two months out station programme.

v     There will be provision for concurrent evaluation and a comprehensive evaluation at the end.

v     On completing institution visits, the students will move back to Vidyapith for the next phase which will consist of a few days to reflect and assimilate. Subsequently they will have to prepare and submit a Field Experience Report.

v     There will be no end semester examination. Instead, there will be an open house with a select group of acharyas (teachers) and activists for further clarification and appraisal.

v     It will be mandatory to submit a consolidated report on what they learned and experienced.

v     There will be a separate course evaluation by students which can comprise of the evaluation of the faculty as well.

v     There will be an evaluation from the side of Vidyapith.

v     A convocation will be held in which Course Diplomas will be presented to the candidates. And there will also be farewell programme.

v     In Vidyapith Campus, double room accommodation will be provided.

v     It is expected that the participants will follow the discipline and daily routine of Vidyapith, and other institutions of placement. Wearing Khadi dress and Vidyapith uniform is compulsory in the campuses.

v     Food will be (strictly) vegetarian but the diversity of the food habits of the participants will be taken into consideration.

v     No fee will be charged for the course. But travel into Ahmedabad, India and back will be the responsibility of the participants. Also the participants will have to remit a caution deposit of USD $200 or its Indian equivalent which will be refunded on successful completion of the course. In case students discontinue without genuine reason(s) the caution deposit will not be refunded.  Local hospitality and internal travel costs will be taken care of by Vidyapith. However, participants or their sponsoring organisations are welcome to make a financial contribution towards the cost of the course.

v     Financial assistance in order to purchase return air ticket will be provided to a student who requires financial aid due to his/her own limited financial resources as well as shows that he/she is a great fit for the International Course on Gandhian Nonviolence: Theory and Application.

v     The course will commence on 2nd October 2014 and will be completed on 30th January, 2015.

v     Participants are expected to arrive in Vidyapith from 25th September, 2014 onwards and will be given accommodation in the campus up to 5th February 2015. On completing the course they should leave the campus positively on or before the last date mentioned i.e., 5th February, 2015.

v     In order to avoid legal complications and to make the granting of Resident Permit (from the Home Department) to stay in Vidyapith campus hazel-free participants are required to arrive first in Ahmedabad and report directly to the Registrar, Gujarat Vidyapith on the above mentioned dates. Travel in other parts of India before reporting to Vidyapith might make the granting of Resident Permit difficult and sometimes impossible. Participants are, therefore, warned to avoid such situations.    

v     Application containing a brief bio data (which should necessarily include the educational background and activist profile of the applicant) and a short note explaining the reason why she/he would like to take the course should be sent to The Registrar, Gujarat Vidyapith, Ashram Road, Ahmedabad, PIN: 380 014, India, (e-mail < >) so as to reach him on or before 30th June, 2014. Students associated with NGO’s or Voluntary organizations will be preferred in admission. Candidates sponsored by organisations should attach the sponsoring letter also to the application.

·        Acquiring VISA and other official permits for travel to India and staying here for the required period of the course will be the responsibility of the candidates or the sponsoring organisations. No one without all the required documents will be admitted. Vidyapith will not take any direct responsibility in this matter.

·        It is obligatory for the participants to sign an affidavit of agreement consenting to abide by the rules and regulations of Gujarat Vidyapith and the visa related rules of the Government of India and submit it for verification to Vidyapith well in advance.

·        Gujarat Vidyapith reserves the right to cancel the studentship of any of the participants on violation of the rules or norms and such candidates will have to vacate the campus as directed by the Registrar of Gujarat Vidyapith. 

Daily Tentative Schedule  for Course Students, Year- 2014-15



07:15 a.m. to 07:30 a.m.


07:30 a.m. to 08:00 a.m.

Safai (Cleanliness)

08:00 a.m. to 08:30 a.m.


08:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Personal Time

9.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.


10.30 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

Personal Time

11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Community Prayer & spinning, Ahimsa Shodh Bhavan

11:30 a.m. to 01:30 p.m.

Academic Session

01:30 p.m. to 03:00 p.m.

Lunch & Rest

03:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m.

Academic Session

05:00 p.m. to 06:00 p.m.


06:00 p.m. to 07:00 p.m.

Free Time

07:00 p.m. to 07:30 p.m.

Prayer & Dialogue

07:30 p.m. to 08:00 p.m.


08:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

            Study & Academic Work



Note :   (1)        After 9.00 p.m. no guest will be allowed in the rooms.

 (2)        Participants going out for dinner or any other work shall return latest by   10.00 p.m.

(3)               In the living quarters no group activity will be allowed after 9.00 p.m.





Part C: Course Modules

Course 1:  Defining Features of Gandhian Nonviolence


1. Correlation between Truth and Nonviolence – Truth as the end and Nonviolence the mean.

2. Meaning of nonviolence - Ontological, Epistemological and Ethical dimensions of nonviolence – negative and positive dimensions of nonviolence -  Gandhi’s emphasis on the positive dimension


3. Basic Assumptions:  spiritual basis - oneness of life – human nature and nonviolence

4. Nonviolence as Soul Force – invincibility of soul force – atom versus atman – universal applicability of nonviolence.

5. Nonviolence as ‘the law of our being’ – as ‘the law of our species’ and the law/direction of human evolution – History (of human evolution) as the unfolding of progressive nonviolence.

6. Nonviolence, the moral equivalent of the law of gravitation – revolutionary potential of nonviolence – the need for making nonviolence the central organising principle of all life activities.


7. Types of nonviolence – principled and strategic nonviolence – nonviolence of the weak and the coward – nonviolence, true/genuine and counterfeit – absolute and existential violence.


8. Nonviolence – Gandhi’s prime concern – why nonviolence – futility of violence and efficacy of nonviolence.

Reading List

M.K.Gandhi                              Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG), [Relevant Volumes](Publication Division)  In Search of the Supreme (Navajivan)

                                                  Non Violence in Peace and War (Navajivan)

Raghavan Iyer (ed.)                    The Moral and Political Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Oxford: Clarendon Press)

Louis Fisher                               The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (New York)

                                                  Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World (New York)

UntoTahtinen                             Ahimsa: Non-violence in Indian Tradition (Ahmedabad, Navajivan)


& Yogendra Singh                     Traditions of Non-violence (Arnold Heinenman, Delhi)

Anima Bose                                             Dimensions of Peace and Nonviolence : The Gandhian Perspective (New Delhi, Gian Pub.House)

M.P.Mathai                               Mahatma Gandhi’s World-view (New Delhi, Gandhi Peace Foundation)

Albert Schweitzer                       Indian Thought and Its Development (Wilco Bombay)

V.K.Kool                                  The Psychology of Nonviolence and Aggression (Palgrave Macmilan)

Robert L.Hlomes

and Barry L.Gan                        Nonviolence in Theory and Practice ( Long Grove, IL, Waveland Press)


Course 2.    Application of Nonviolence: Gandhian Approach


1. Gandhi’s life as a paradigm of nonviolence in action


2. Nonviolence in personal life – as a way of life: intra-personal, inter-personal and ecological/cosmic dimensions.

3. Consolidating the power of nonviolence through personal sadhana – moral/spiritual authority of a nonviolent person – power of authentic nonviolence of an individual developing into an objective social force – its power and potential - examples from history, past and present.


4.  Organised and collective use of nonviolence – Satyagraha/nonviolent direct action.

5. Basic assumptions and principles of Satyagraha.

6. Variants and techniques of Satyagraha.

7. Universal applicability of Satyagraha – reformative and revolutionary applications

8. Satyagraha and Constructive Programme in the Gandhian scheme – Gandhian Constructive Programme as illustrative example.


9. Case studies/examples of nonviolent resistances in different countries and situations - paradigmatic satyagrahies/nonviolent fighters.

Reading List

M.K.Gandhi                             Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG),  [Relevant Volumes](New Delhi, Publication Division)       

Satyagraha In South Africa (Ahmedabad, Navajivan)

In Search of the Supreme (Ahmedabad,Navajivan)

Non Violence in Peace and War (Ahmedabad, Navajivan)

R.R.Diwakar                            The Saga of Satyagraha (New Delhi, Gandhi Peace    Foundation)

Richard B. Gregg                                           The Power of Non-violence (Ahmedabad, Navajivan)  

Gene Sharp                              The Politics of Nonviolent Action Part 1, 2, & 3 (Boston, Porter Sargent)

Joan Valerie Bondurant             Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict (Princeton, Princeton University Press)

Dennis Dalton                           Gandhi’s Power Nonviolence in Action (Oxford India Paperback)

Peter Ackerman

and Jack DuVall                       A Force More Powerful (Palgrave Macmillan)

Howard Clark                          People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity (London, Pluto Press)


Beck Sanderson                       Nonviolent Action Handbook (Goleta California, World Peace Communications)

Narayan Desai                          A Handbook for Satyagrahis  (New Delhi, Gandhi Peace Foundation)

Ackerman, Peter,

and Christopher Kruegler          Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: The Dynamics of People Power in the 20th Century. Westport, CT: Praeger, l993.

Albert, David H.                       People Power: Applying Nonviolence Theory. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1985. 


Course 3.  Dealing with Conflicts – Conflict Transformation

1. Meaning of Conflict

2. The sources of conflict- political - economic - environmental - historical - cultural - psychological

3. Analysis of conflict- actors – causes- issues, scope and stage of the conflict- power resources and relationships – stakeholders – facilitators- spoilers

4. Conflict- different phases- Conflict Prevention and early warning- ripeness

5. Problem –solving, including workshop approach in protracted conflicts

6. Negotiations – positions and interests- negotiating style – principled negotiation- elements of Gandhian style negotiations- negotiating with difficult people

7. Third Party Intervention – Types of Third Party Intervention – Mediation- prescriptive vs. elicitive approaches

8. Thomas – Killman’s Five Conflict Styles

9. Satyagraha and Conflict Transformation

10. Conflict Transformation- Reconciliation- Truth, Justice, Mercy and Forgiveness

11. Essential skills – analyzing, communicating clearly, synthesizing, listening, drafting, inventing new options- cultural sensitivity- anger management etc.

Reading List

Mark Jurgensmeyer                  Gandhi’s Way A Handbook of Conflict Resolution (New Delhi, Oxford University Press)

Collins, Randall                           Conflict Sociology: Toward an Explanatory Science. (New York: Academic Press, 1975)

Galtung, Johan.                        Solving Conflicts: A Peace Research Perspective. (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 1989)

Galtung, Johan.                         Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization (London: Sage, 1996)

Lederach, John Paul.                The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Lederach, John Paul.                The Little Book of Conflict Transformation (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2003)

Schrock-Shenk, Carolyn, (ed.) Mediation and Facilitation Training Manual: Foundations and Skills for Constructive Conflict Transformation. (Akron, PA: Mennonite Conciliation Service, 2000)


Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse 

& Hugh Miall                                       Contemporary Conflict Resolution (Oxford,   Blackwell, 1999)

Ronald J. Fisher                        Transforming Violent Conflicts (Syracuse University Press, 1997)         

Vayrynen, Raimo, ed.               New Directions in Conflict Theory: Conflict Resolution and Conflict Transformation. (London: Sage, 1991)

Blalock, Hubert M.                   Power and Conflict: Towards a General Theory (Newbury Park. CA: Sage Publications, 1989)

Burton, John,                            Conflict: Human Needs Theory. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990)

Burgess, Heidi,

and Burgess, Guy M.                Encyclopaedia of Conflict Resolution. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1997)