Gandhi letters to Kallenbach  go on display from Jan 30

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Jan 10, 2013 03:16 IST

The much-talked about Gandhi-Kallenbach papers, used by Pulitzer-winning author Joseph Lelyveld to describe the relationship between Mahatma and his close aide as “the most intimate, also ambiguous”, will be on display at the National Archives here from January 30.

The papers — mostly letters between Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach, a German-Jewish architect who lived in South Africa, where Gandhi spent many years — were brought to the National Archives in August last.

Kallenbach’s family had put them up for auction which was called off after the government bought the documents for around Rs. 8 crore.

Gandhi signs the letters as “Upper House” and fondly calls his friend “Lower House” — the references to which Lelyveld suggests sexual meaning to in his book Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India.

“The papers, which throw new light on the little known period in Gandhi’s life — his years in South Africa — and constitute a new biographical source material, will be a rich resource for researchers and historians,” Prof Mushirul Hasan, director-general of the National Archives, told HT.

He said the documents, which also include photographs, would go on display from January 30, Gandhi’s death anniversary.

From the smallest details of Gandhi's daily life, including his diet, the Kallenbach papers  chronicle the evolution of Gandhi’s philosophy of ahimsa and satyagraha.

 

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