SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI >  VOL. IV - SELECTED LETTERS > SECTION ONE : SELECTED LETTERS > To Mr Maffey, Private Secretary to Viceroy
11. To Mr Maffey, Private Secretary to Viceroy1
Care District Magistrate,
Motihari,
April 16, 1917
DEAR MR MAFFEY,
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 co-operation. 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 under¬stand, 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.,
M. K. GANDHI

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

1 Lord Chelmsford
2 Government
3 The Police Office