London: Grass with a drop of Mahatma Gandhi's
blood and soil from the place where he was assassinated in
1948 in New Delhi are among rare items to be put up for
auction in the UK on April 17.
Other items include a pair of Gandhi's round-rimmed
glasses, 'charkha', a 10 inch 78rpm Columbia disc of Gandhi
giving his spiritual message signed by him, and original
photographs of Gandhi visiting London in 1931.
The items, along with letters in English by Gandhi to
Raghavan, Sgt NER Poduwal in Rangoon, and letters by Gandhi
in Gujarati and a prayer book in Gujarati are expected to
fetch nearly 100,000 pounds in the auction conducted by
auctioneer Mullock's in Shropshire.
The highest guide price - 10,000 pounds to 15,000
pounds - has been set by the auctioneer for three items in the
collection: the pair of glasses, 'charkha' and a casket
containing the soil and blades of grass from the spot where
Gandhi was killed in New Delhi.
The soil and blades of grass were collected by one
P P Nambiar, who describes the samples in a provenance, and
are placed in a small wooden casket containing a small glass
The description of the item says: "The casket comes
with a letter of provenance by P P Nambiar dated September
24th, 1996 saying that the recipient..has today received the
most sacred of all relics a fraction of the pinch of soil I
collected on January 30, 1948 from the spot where the Father
of our nation M K Gandhi fell to the bullets of his assassin."
Mullock's says that the item is also accompanied by
a copy of 'True but never heard before' by P P Nambiar, which
is a personal account of collecting the soil sample on the day
Gandhi was murdered. It quotes Nambiar's words..."in my search
I found a drop of blood on the grass almost dried".
I cut the grass and also took two pinches of soil
from the brink of the pothole which I wrapped in a piece of
Hindi newspaper found nearby. This is in my box even today.
I keep it in a jewellery box brought by me from
Indo-China in a later year. To me it is a treasure of immense
Gandhi's glasses under auction were bought in London
around 1890 when he studied Law. The item is described as
"corroded with age", and comes with the with the original felt
bearing the name of H Cannam Optician 23 St Aldate Street
The 'charkha' is described as being in an 'as used'
condition but still retaining its inner mechanism.
Mullock's representative, Richard Westwood-Brookes,
said: "This is a wonderful archive of material with excellent
provenance. It comes from the close friend of one of Gandhi's
disciples and is of great importance to the Indian nation".
He added: "The soil upon which Gandhi fell is of
particular significance to the Indian nation and is like a
holy relic. The letters from Gandhi and his spectacles are
also greatly important and are as close as you can get to the
Weston-Brookes said the market for Indian items such as
the Gandhi archives had picked up in recent years and there
were an increasing number of collectors.
It is a great privilege to sell these objects that
are rightly regarded as important pieces of Indian history",
First Published: Monday, April 02, 2012, 19:30