Finally the letter was found in the #nationalarchives… #Gandhi used to get Rs 100 per month from the British to cover personal expenses in 1930. The market value of 100 rupees at that time is currently close to 2.88 lakh rs. why did he get the money? Chakra made us free
A letter dated 15, June 1930 written by the Government of Bombay to the Government of India seen with the ‘National Archives of India’ watermark is widely circulated on social media platforms. This letter was regarding the debit of charges on account of the state prisoner M.K. Gandhi.
This letter is shared with a claim that Gandhi used to get Rs.100 per month from the British to cover personal expenses in 1930. The viral post further mentions that the market value of 100 rupees at that time is currently close to 2.88 lakh rupees.
What is the truth?
When searching with the keywords ‘personal allowance political prisoner’, we found multiple relevant links through which we found that it was an allowance provided for the maintenance of each state prisoner. And this allowance was not specifically provided to Gandhi alone.
The viral letter in circulation is found on Page No. 51 of ‘National Archives of India’ listed on the Government website ‘Indian Culture’. This letter itself mentions that the allowance of Rs.100 was sanctioned for the maintenance of M.K. Gandhi, who has been detained as a State prison in the Yeravda Central Prison. The letter did not mention anywhere that it is to cover ‘personal expense’ for Gandhi. Instead, the letter stated it as an allowance for the maintenance of M.K. Gandhi in prison.
It is also stated that “it was proposed to debit the charges on account of the confinement of this prisoner to the Government of India under the head 29-Political Central Refugees and State Prisoners- other Refugees and State Prisoners.”
Another letter No. 1353/2-c, dated the 7th June 1927, regarding the debit of similar charges on account of the Bengali State prisoner Satish Chandra Pakrashi, is also quoted in the same viral letter. We also found multiple other letters listed under ‘National Archives of India’ on the ‘Indian Culture’ website that quoted about ‘personal allowance’ to state prisoners. This proves that Gandhi was not the only state prisoner to receive the allowance.
And the resolution listed on the next page 52 quotes “An allowance of one hundred rupees per mensen is sanctioned for the maintenance of Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This allowance should be remitted to the Superintendent of the Yeravda Central Prison”. It further quoted about Gandhi’s ‘health and treatment’. This proves that Gandhi did not receive the amount directly for his personal expense as claimed in the viral posts. The amount was given to the Superintendent of the Yeravda Central Prison for Gandhi’s maintenance.
In one of the letters to E.E. Doyle, dated 10, May 1930 found under ‘The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi’ listed on the website ’Gandhi Heritage Portal’, Gandhi stated that “I must avoid, as much as possible, special privileges offered to me by the government”. He also listed the following as preferred newspapers: The Bombay Chronicle, The Times of India, Indian Social Reformer, Modern Review, Young India and Navajivan (Hindi and Gujarati).
He further stated “The Government have suggested Rs. 100 as monthly allowance. I hope I shall need nothing near it. I know that my food is a costly affair. It grieves me, but it has become a physical necessity with me.” This reveals that Gandhi was granted an allowance of Rs.100 per month for his maintenance when he was a state prisoner at Yeravda Central prison but he refused it.
It is found that the viral claim shared along with the letter is completely misleading. An allowance of Rs.100 was indeed sanctioned to Gandhi when he was a state prisoner. But it is to be noted that the amount was not given to him directly, rather it was clearly stated in the letter that the allowance is for the maintenance of Gandhi in prison.
And he is not the only political prisoner to receive such allowance as it is a common practice that was followed. Moreover, he refused the allowance granted by the British government.