American collector James Otis, who shot into fame recently by auctioning Mahatma Gandhi’s belongings, said he was ready to negotiate with the government to return the other items in his collection.
Otis said an official from the Indian embassy in the US had requested him not to sell the memorabilia. “Talks are on with the Indian government over the other items,” he added.
Confirming to HT that “I have decided not to auction Gandhi’s belongings”, Otis claimed he had collected about 400 original photographs of Gandhi from auctions in different countries.
Otis said, “I have blood drops of Mahatma Gandhi that had been collected from the site of his assassination.” He claimed that it was given to him by an Indian professor, whose name he pronounced as J.R. Parkashan.
He said Geeta Mehta, daughter of Abha Gandhi who was a close associate of the Mahatma during the freedom struggle, had sold some of the Gandhi memorabilia to him.
Asked why did he auction the memorabilia, the 45-year-old billionaire businessman said, “My intention is to remind the world about the great man.” He, however, added that he could not anticipate controversy it would generate. Otis said he was influenced by Gandhi’s philosophy during his university days. “I led the first non-violent struggle when I was eighteen...,” he said.