Satyagraha is a Sanskrit word that was coined by Mahatma Gandhi. It translates loosely as “insistence on truth,” “loyalty to truth,” or simply “Truth-force.” (satya “truth”; agraha “insistence” or “holding firmly to”).
The theory of satyagraha is timeless, and sees means and ends as inseparable. The means used to obtain an end are wrapped up in and attached to that end. Therefore, it is contradictory to try to use unjust means to obtain justice or to try to use violence to obtain peace. As Gandhi wrote: “They say, ‘means are, after all, means.’ I would say, ‘means are, after all, everything.’ As the means, so the end.”
Gandhi used an example to explain this:
“If I want to deprive you of your watch [by force or theft], I shall certainly have to fight for it. If I want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay for it. And if I want it as a gift, I shall have to plead for it. According to the means I employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or a donation.”