1800 gifts, mementos received by PM Narendra Modi go under hammer in 2-day event
Avyansh Gupta, 10, became the youngest bidder at the auction as he bought a Lord Hanuman idol for Rs 3,800. He plans to buy a turban and a bamboo hat as well.Updated: Jan 28, 2019 08:15 IST
A two-day auction of around 1,800 gifts and mementos Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received since he came to power in 2014 began on Sunday to raise funds for the Centre’s project for the Ganga conservation. An e-auction for the unsold items would be organised from January 29 to 31 after the two-day auction closes on Monday.
Avyansh Gupta, 10, became the youngest bidder at the auction as he bought a Lord Hanuman idol for Rs 3,800. He plans to buy a turban and a bamboo hat as well.
Gupta, a Ghaziabad-resident, said he has done a project on the Ganga in his school and decided to participate in the auction when he saw an advertisement about it to raise funds for the river’s conservation.
“We wanted to make him understand the concept of an auction and give him some in-depth knowledge of the Ganga,’’ said Gupta’s mother, Barkha.
A 2.22 kg silver plate worth Rs 30,000, which former Bharatiya Janata Party Parliament member C Narasimhan had gifted to Modi, was the most expensive item to go under the hammer. A statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, with a base price of Rs 1,000, was sold for Rs 22,000.
A blue brocade shawl with tassels was the least expensive at Rs 200. Other items include swords, musical instruments, turbans, shawls, traditional jackets, bows, arrows, masks, and photographs of historical and political figures.
A painting showing Modi walking on a railway platform with an umbrella and a bag and his photo in a meditative posture were among the most sought after items.
Adwaita Gadanayak, the director general of New Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) that is organising the auction, likened Modi to a saint. He said all the items have an emotional value attached to them. “We exhibited the items in October last year and then we proposed an auction. I am so happy that this [auction] could actually happen.”
NGMA refused to reveal the amount of money raised on day one.
Laviikk Agarwal, 10, who accompanied his grandfather, Vinod Agarwal, bought a metal portrait of Modi. “I am an admirer of Modiji. I feel proud to own something that had been gifted to our Prime Minister. I will keep this portrait in my room,” he said.
Hindu Sena vice president Surjeet Yadav, who bought around 20 items worth over a lakh, said they will be bidding for more items. “Our objective is to contribute towards the Ganga mission. What can be a better way of doing it?”
Ratan Gupta, who came from Kanpur to bid for a sword, said the swords auctioned so far were expensive.
Venkatesh Das Agarwal, a heritage collector from Kolkata, called the auction a good precedent and such events should be promoted for the world to see.
Union minister Piyush Goyal, who attended the event, lauded Modi’s initiative to auction the gifts to raise funds for the Ganga Project.