SECTION I : Selected Letters

[ from Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : Vol - 4 ]

Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
Volume IV

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Publisher's Note



  1. Faith in God
  2. Religions and Scriptures
  3. Value of Prayer
  4. Truth and Non-violence
  5. The Science of Satyagraha
  6. Fasting in Satyagraha
  7. Unto This Last
  8. Khadi and Village Industry
  9. East and West
  10. Hindu-Muslim Unity
  11. Upliftment of Women
  12. The Good of All
  13. India's Freedom
  14. Education
  15. Caste System and Untouchability
  16. Brahmacharya
  17. Fearlessness
  18. Health and Hygene
  19. Self-restraint
  20. Self-development
  21. Selfless Service
  22. Voluntary Poverty

About This Volumes

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi comprises of Five volumes.

  • Vol-I: Autobiography
  • Vol-II: Satyagraha in South Africa
  • Vol-III: Basic Works
    1. Ethical Religion
    2. Unto This Last
    3. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule
    4. From Yeravada Mandir
    5. Discourses on the Gita
    6. Constructive Programme
    7. Key to Health
  • Vol-IV: Selected Letters
  • Vol-V: Voice of Truth

This book, Selected Letters, is volume-4.

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
General Editor : Shriman Narayan
Volume Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : A set of five books
ISBN: 81-7229-278-3 (set)
Printed and Published by :
Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1968


Gandhi Letter 11 : To Mr Maffey, Private secretary To Viceroy1

Care District Magistrate,
April 16, 1917


I have come to this district to learn for myself whether there is truth in the allegations of the ryots against the planters. I saw the Secretary of the Planters' Association and then the Commissioner of the Division, and sought their cooperation. Both politely rejected my advances and dissuaded me from my pursuit. I could not accept their advice, and have been proceeding with my work. The Magistrate has served upon me an order asking me to leave the District. The grounds for the order are such as I cannot subscribe to. I have therefore been reluctantly obliged to disobey the order and tell the Magistrate that I shall suffer the penalty for the breach.
My motive is national service and that, too, so long as it is consistent with humanitarian dictates. I understand, because my South African work was considered to be humanitarian that I was awarded the Kaisar-i- Hind Gold Medal. So long as my humanitarian motive is questioned, so long must I remain undeserving of holding the medal. I am therefore asking my people to return the medal to you, and I shall feel honoured to receive it back if it is returned to me when my motive is no longer questioned.
As to the question itself, so far as I have been able to examine the evidence, given to me, it shows that the planters have successfully used the Civil and Criminal Courts and illegal force to enrich themselves at the expense of the ryots, and that the ryots are living under a reign of terror and that their property, their persons, and their minds are all under the planters' heels. One man graphically said to me: "We belong to the planters, not to the Sircar.2 Thana3 is nowhere, the planters are everywhere. We take what they allow, and we keep what they permit." I had hoped that a deeper examination would have toned down the impression formed by me. Had I been left free, I would have concluded my studies and placed the results at the disposal of the authorities. I wish that His Excellency would consider the matter serious enough to have an independent inquiry made.
The local administration admits that they are sitting upon a mine so dangerous that they cannot tolerate my presence. And yet they manage to be satisfied with the slow inquiry of a settlement officer. Everything will depend upon swiftness and the proper choice of the members of the Committee of Inquiry. This is the least that the ryots are entitled to. Will you please place this before the Viceroy and ask for his forgiveness for sending such a long letter in the midst of many imperative calls upon his time. The urgency of the matter is the sole excuse for this letter.

I am, etc.,

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XIII, pp. 368-69

  1. Lord Chelmsford
  2. Government
  3. The Police Office