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How India saved Mahatma Gandhi's letter

world Updated: Jul 05, 2007 02:19 IST
Vijay Dutt

It took almost round the clock negotiations to secure the release of a letter handwritten by Mahatma Gandhi a day before it was to go under the hammer in London.

Acting High Commissioner of India Ashok Mukherjee and Monika Mohta, Director, Nehru Centre, persuaded Christie's to convey to the executors of the Albin Schram Collection of Autograph Letters the deep Indian sentiment for the manuscript.

The negotiations described as very cordial had lasted until late Monday evening.

Both Mukherjee and Mohta praised Dr Amin Jaffer, International Director of Asian Art at Christie's, for making the executors agree to its withdrawal.

From Kenya but of Indian-origin, Dr Jaffer said, "From Christie's we are all delighted that we have been able to assist in the return of the manuscript to India."

Meanwhile, the auction of the 571 handwritten letters generated over £3 million, almost 50 per cent more than expected. Napolean's passionate love letter to Josephine fetched £276,000, a world record for a letter in former French rulers' hand.