London: Hand-written notes by Mahatma
Gandhi during the protracted negotiations with Lord
Mountbatten before the Partition of India are among priceless
documents of 'immense historical importance' secured by a
British heritage fund.
The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has
contributed 2 million pounds to secure the Broadlands Archives
that contain documents chronicling major political events
which shaped Britain at the end of the 19th century.
The archives include notes and documents of Lord
Mountbatten, who, as the last viceroy and the first
governor-general of independent India, played a key role in
the negotiations that saw British withdrawal from India.
The documents include a handwritten note from Mahatma
Gandhi to Mountbatten where he writes about his vow of
silence. The archives contain 4,500 boxes of official papers
and personal correspondence from major figures in the
The NHMF spokeswoman said: "These notes, pencilled on
the back of used envelopes, chart Gandhi's shift from fervent
opposition to the partition of the country, to reluctant
The archives will now be bought by the University of
Southampton which, with the NHMF grant of 1,993,760 pounds
reached its fundraising target of 2.85 million pounds.
The archives will be based at the university.
Professor Chris Woolgar, head of special collections
at the University of Southampton, added: "We're delighted to
receive this grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund
and we thank all those who have supported our campaign to
acquire these precious Archives".
He added: "It is impossible to underestimate the
archives' historical and national impact, in particular,
without them we would find it difficult to understand fully
the foundations of the independent states of India, Pakistan
An NHMF spokeswoman said: "The 4,500 boxes of official
papers, personal correspondence, diaries and photographs offer
unprecedented insights into major political, diplomatic,
social and economic events that shaped Britain in the 19th and
Carole Souter, NHMF chief executive, said: This
acquisition is of immense national and historical importance.
The University of Southampton is on track to ensure that the
records of those who stood at the very forefront of British
political life will be preserved for future generations of
historians, scholars and the public to explore and enjoy".
First Published: Friday, June 04, 2010, 17:36