Sonia asked to stop auctioning of Gandhi's letters



Kanpur: Padmashree recipient Giriraj Kishore today expressed concern over the trading of articles associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the international market and asked UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to stop the auction of former's two letters in London next week.

The upcoming auction, which is to be held on December 12 by Sotheby's, have on offer two letters written by Mahatma Gandhi one of them to Rabindranath Tagore's elder brother, Dwijendranath; the second a condolence letter to an unknown person apart from a rare edition of the Constitution of India.

"On November 19, I have written a letter to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to stop the auction of Gandhi's letters and a rare edition of the Constitution," the Gandhian author Giriraj Kishore told reporters here.

Earlier this year, objecting to a proposed July 10 auction of letters exchanged between Mahatma Gandhi and his friend and architect Hermann Kallenbach, Kishore had written to the UPA chairperson and asked her to stall the same. He claimed that it was on his initiative that Sonia Gandhi intervened to prevent the said auction from going through.

However, Kishore said, the "UPA chairperson has promised in a letter, written to him on the same date, that a policy would be formulated by the Cultural Ministry owing to which such auctions could be stopped in the future".

The Gandhian activist has also written to Union Minister of Culture, Chandresh Kumari Katoch, with the like exhortation to prevent auction of Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia. However, Kishore said that Sonia Gandhi and the Culture Minister are yet to respond to the letters which were both sent on November 19.

Author of the highly-acclaimed work 'Pahla Girmitiya (The First Indentured Labour)', on the struggles faced by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, the Hindi writer was conferred with the Padmashree in 2007 for his contribution to the field of literature and education.

PTI