Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/50

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But he goes his own way, untrammelled by precedent, carefully analysing the criticism to which he is naturally subjected, holding himself answerable, however, to his own conscience alone. For he is of the prophets, and not merely of the secondary interpreters of life.

The same month he came to Madras and on the 10th spoke on Social Service to a large audience presided over by Mrs. Whitehead. On the 14th he spoke on Swadeshi before the Missionary Conferenceand a couple of days later gave a lucid account of his Satyagrahashram to a large gathering of students in the precincts of the Young Men’s Christian Association, Madras, the Hon. Rev. G. Pittendrigh of the Christian College presiding. He then went back to Ahmedabad to look after his Ashram. Late in the year on December 22, he made a remarkable speech on "Economic versus Moral Progress" at the Muir Central College, Allahabad, Mr. Stanley Jevons presiding. The address contains some of his most mature and thoughtful reflections on life, and both in style and sentiment is one of the most characteristic of Mr. Gandhi’s utterances.


Then came the Champaran incident which has since become historic, In the Lucknow Congress of December 1916, Mr. Gandhi, though pressed by some of the citizens of Behar, declined to talk about the grievances of the labourers in the Behar plantations without first-hand knowledge of the real state of affairs. This he resolved to acquire soon after the Congress session: and in response to an insistent public demand, to irquire into the conditions under which Indians work in the indigo plantations, Mr Gandhi was in Muzaffarpur on the 15th April 1917, whence he took the mid-day train for Motihari. Next day he was served with a notice from the Champaran District Magistrate to quit the district "by the next available train" as his presence "will endanger the public peace and may lead to serious disturbance which may be accompanied by loss of life." But the local authorities in issuing this mandate counted without the host. For Mr. Gandhi, who had initiated the Passive