A dharna (Hindi: धरना; Urdu: دهرنا) is a non-violent sit-in protest, which may include fast undertaken at the door of an offender, especially a debtor, in India as a means of obtaining compliance with a demand for justice, state response of criminal cases,[1] or payment of a debt. It was a popular form of protest during the Indian independence movement and part of Mahatma Gandhi's satyagraha form of civil disobedience and protest.[2][3]

For the village in Nepal see Dharna, Nepal

In India, there are designated places for conducting Dharna, and a permission is required for it. Often, those practicing dharna break the permission leading to clashes with law enforcement.

Dharna generally refers to fixing one's mind on an object. It refers to whole-heartedly pledging toward an outcome or to inculcating a directed attitude. Dharna is consciously and diligently holding a point of view with the intent of achieving a goal.

The word originates from the Sanskrit word dharnam.

In Pakistan, the term was first used in 1958 by Abdul Qayyum Khan against the Prime Minister Feroze Khan's administration to remove his President Iskander Mirza but its effective usage was made by Naeem Siddiqui proposed to use dharna politics for obtaining objectives and latter on Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Jammat e Islami organised dharna in Pakistan in 1993, Fazl Ur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar awan and other political and religious leaders are now attempting to use this strategy for their purposes.

See also


  1. "Family members hold dharna under tree where girls were hanged". The Indian Express. June 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  2. Rediscovering Gandhi. Concept Publishing Company. 2008. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-81-8069-480-6.
  3. Ramachandra Guha (2013). Gandhi Before India. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-93-5118-322-8.
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