India to acquire and protect Gandhi manuscripts

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Stung by the costly exercise of rescuing a draft article of Mahatma Gandhi from an auction, the government has decided to evolve a national policy on the acquisition and preservation of Gandhi manuscripts.

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, in consultation with the Ahmedabad-based Navjeevan Trust - the sole custodian of all Gandhi manuscripts - is preparing a legal brief which will be sent to Indian missions abroad to help them acquire Gandhi's letters found in possession of collectors or individuals wanting to make a quick buck.

The legal brief will be sent after being vetted by the culture and justice ministries, Mridula Mukherjee, director of the NMML, told IANS in an interview.

The government is not just focussing on acquiring Gandhi's letters in private possession abroad, but will also have a national policy to ensure that Gandhi's letters are acquired from individuals without much fuss and possibly without paying anything, Mukherjee said.

The idea is to prevent the commercialisation of the Mahatma's letters and articles, she stressed.

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