Sequel to Sale of Gandhi's Spectacles

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The auction of Gandhi’s glasses, pocket watch and sandals, as well as a bowl and plate, by Antiquorum Auctioneers in New York on March 4th and 5th was announced a couple of weeks ago. The sale of the personal belongings of a man renowned for his ascetic lifestyle and life philosophy sparked, however, considerable controversy. The announcement fuelled opposition in India, where some of Gandhi’s followers have requested that the buyer put the objects in the public domain and a group of MPs have demanded their return to India. One minister suggested that the government should enter the auction and buy the items arguing that they formed part of India’s heritage.

Tushar Gandhi, a great-grandson of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, has, however, recently launched a ‘people’s initiative’, a popular appeal to Indians to raise the necessary funds to buy the objects in order to thereafter preserve them in a museum. He has argued, on similar grounds to some Indian ministers and followers of Gandhi, that the objects constitute part of Indian heritage and should not be sold to wealthy collectors.

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