Gandhi memorabilia brought to Mumbai from London

Gandhi memorabilia brought to Mumbai from London Mumbai: Social activist Anna Hazare and former army chief Gen. (retd) V.K. Singh along with former minister Kamal Morarka Tuesday received 29 items belonging to Mahatma Gandhi that Morarka bought at an auction in London.

The items included a Charkha (yarn spinning wheel, a pair of spectacles, a blade of grass and some soil stained with Mahatma Gandhi`s blood, an autographed prayer book and 25 other items.

After receiving the items at Mumbai airport, Morarka said these will be taken on an all-India tour lasting nearly two years.

"The initiative `Pranaam Bapu` is aimed at enabling the countrymen view the items belonging to the Father of the Nation and rekindle Gandhiji`s philosophy among youth," Morarka told reporters here.

Morarka also said he is glad that Hazare and Santosh Bharatiya, editor of the weekly "Chauthi Duniya", will be leading the initiative starting Jan 30 from Patna, Bihar.

However, Morarka expressed grief over the Indian government`s apathy towards the items and the bureaucracy for not waiving Rs.22 lakh customs duty.

"When I requested them to waive off the customs duty, I was asked to sign an undertaking stating I shall not sell or donate these items. While I agreed to not sell them, I see no reason why I cannot donate them. Hence, I agreed to pay full customs duty," he said.

A staunch Gandhian, Morarka had bought these items at an auction in London April 17 last year.

Hazare backed Morarka stating that the government should have been proactive in acquiring these special memorabilia. He said he is glad that he will be able to tour the country with Mahatma Gandhi`s memorabilia.

"Through the tour, I shall once again call upon the citizens of this country to wake up to their rights. I am also eager to visit the very spot where Gandhi was killed," Hazare said.

Gandhi was assassinated Jan 30, 1948, at Birla House in New Delhi.

IANS