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79. A Jail Experience

While Gandhiji was in Yeravda Jail, the prison Superintendent, Col. Dalziel, was anxious that Gandhiji should take butter. And to take butter with, he issued a pretty large quantity of flour to Gandhiji. What transpired was related by Gandhiji after his release early in 1924. Gandhiji wrote:

"After some trial, I felt I needed neither flour nor butter. I asked that the flour may be removed from me, and the issue of the butter stopped. Col. Dalziel will not listen. What is issued is issued. I might feel tempted later. I pleaded that it was all waste of public money. I gently suggested that I was as solicitous about the use of public money as I would be about my own. There was an incredible smile. I then said, 'Surely it is my money.'

"How much have you contributed to the public treasury?' was the quick retort. I humbly replied, 'You contribute only a percentage of the salary you get from the State, whereas I give the whole of myself, labour, intelligence and all.' There was a loud burst of suggestive laughter. But I did not collapse for I believed what I said."