What is Passive Resisters ?

Until now I was thinking that Gandhi would have been lover of Hockey(as India was doing great at international level during his period) or Cricket(game of elite class- at that time)but was surprised to know that he was an ardent football lover.

During his stay in South Africa, Gandhiji was closely associated with Football- Not as player but as Manager of Football club - “Passive Resisters”. This club owned 2 teams : Johannesburg Passive Resisters and Pretoria Passive Resisters.( named so after the political philosophy, inspired by the writings of Henry Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy).

True to his ideals, the Mahatma educated the young club-members on the positives of non-violence, and also encouraged his team to use lesser aggression in their games during his half-time lectures.

What fascinated Gandhiji in particular was the notion he had of football’s nobility. At that time, the idea of team play was much stronger than the idea of individual ‘star’ players, and this is something that greatly appealed to him. He believed the game had an enormous potential to promote team work. Certainly he appreciated the game’s usefulness in attracting large crowds, but it would be a mistake to think that football was only a communications platform for Gandhi. It was, I believe, much more. It was one of his great personal passions and one of the ways in which he was able to find spiritual peace.

Sadly, the club did not have a very long run, and in the absence of Gandhiji, it closed in 1936.


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