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On the block: Bapu’s letters expressing concerns over rape charges against son

world Updated: May 15, 2014 08:06 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Three letters written by Mahatma Gandhi to his eldest son Harilal, expressing deep concerns over allegations of rape, debauchery and lying against him, are among several Gandhi-related memorabilia being put up for auction in Shropshire, west Midlands, on May 22.

Auctioneers Mullock’s on Wednesday said the letters —written in Gujarati — are from 1935 and dated June 6, 19 and 27. “As far as we are aware, they have never before been seen in public and as such they provide remarkable new information on the troubled relationship Gandhi had with his son,” said Mullock’s.

The letters, Mullock’s said, discussed Harilal’s relationships and his behaviour, and mention that he had been accused of lying in his behaviour with two women. They also make “reference to the fact that Harilal had been accused of rape”, the auctioneer said.

In one letter (according to the translation provided by Mullock’s), Gandhi wrote: “…please let me have pure truth please tell me if still you are interested in alcohol and debauchery...I wish that you better die rather than resort to alcohol in any manner...’.

Gandhi further states in the letters: “You should know that your problem has become much more difficult for me even than our national freedom...”. The guide price for the three letters is between £50,000 and £60,000.

Other items up for auction include stamps, portraits and pamplets. The auctioneer said the letters are in “good condition” and that the collection had “come via descent from a branch of Gandhi’s family to the present vendor”.