Auction of Mahatma Gandhi's memorabilia in UK opposed



Kanpur: Concerned over no action being taken to preserve documents and other valuable belongings of Mahatma Gandhi, noted writer and Gandhian Giriraj Kishore has threatened to launch a protest preventing sale of such articles of historic importance, scheduled for later this month in London.

Kishore, a Padmashri awardee had on previous occasion written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who in a reply to his letter dated July 10, 2012 assured him of taking up the issue with the Cultural ministry to device policies to prevent auction of belongings of Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters of India.

However, Kishore alleges that no such action has been taken yet and another auction is scheduled for May 21 this year in London, the UK.

The articles on sale this year include Gandhi's will and power of attorney which he wrote in 1921, a series of important letters, personal drinking cup and ivory-carved 'Three Wise Monkeys'.

On April 17, 2012 when several belongings of Mahatma Gandhi including a pair of spectacles, letter, spinning wheel, a watch and blades of grass stained with his blood was being auctioned in London, Kishore had written to former President Pratibha Patil on May 21 last and got a reply from the Rashtriyapati Bhawan assuring him of a probe into the matter.

The President's Office had also assured him that the matter would be taken up by the External Affairs and Home ministries. Kishore alleged he had also written to the Prime Minister's office and Cultural ministry but did not get any response from there.

After his continuing efforts to get a policy in place ended up in vain he decided to give away his Padmashri honour back. He approached the Kanpur district head and the commissioner on the same but they refused to take the award back.

The noted writer has threatened to sit on demonstrations in protest of lack of action being taken to prevent auction of such articles which are of cultural and historic importance to the country.

Kishore has also published a book on preserving the articles belonging to Mahatma Gandhi.

PTI