Non violent action is arguably a universal phenomenon, in
the sense that it occurs throughout history and across social and political
system. It defines its subject as an aspect of actions, generally collective
action, in social, political or economic conflict. Nonviolent action is
therefore neither passivity, nor a part of institutionalized politics, nor
violence. This action remains poorly understood as a distinctive phenomenon as
it overlaps other human behaviors that receive much more study on their own
such as conflict, state violence etc.
Nonviolent action is a technique of conducting protest,
resistance, and intervention without physical violence by :(a) acts of
omission(that is, the participants refuse to perform acts which they usually
perform, or are required by law or regulation to perform); or (b) acts of
commission (that is, the participants perform acts which they usually do not
perform, are not expected by customs to perform, or are forbidden by law or
regulation from performing); or (c) a combination of both. (Sharp 1985:51)
Non violent action is distinct from conflict resolution
and management techniques as it is a means of protest, resistance and
intervention. It also operates beyond institutionalized means for conducting
and setting disputes in a given social or political system. The conduct and
effect of non violent actions in conflict can be assessed independently of
whether physical violence and material destruction are present in same
conflict. The existence of nonviolent actions requires neither the powerful to
tolerate active opposition. It is a unilateral initiative by on party respond
in kind. Some of the methods (Sharp
identifies 198 methods)of nonviolent actions Sharp(1973) are Public Speeches, Letters of opposition or support, Slogans, caricatures, and symbols, Humorous
skits and pranks, Protest emigration , Dual sovereignty and parallel
government and many more.
Gandhi believed that nonviolent actions as a whole can be
distinguished from particular methods or limited conceptions of nature. His
thinking begins the task of developing a more economic passing and focused view
of non violent action and its relationship to political object and position.
Gandhi’s influenced led to large ,uncritical, literature on the
relationship over nonviolence.