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Mahatma Gandhi's letter back home

Sources say that the letter would be handed over to the Navjeevan Trust by Karan Singh, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2007 04:01 IST
Vijay Dutt

The manuscript of Mahatma Gandhi written a few days before his death, which nearly went up for auction at Christie’s before being withdrawn, reached Delhi last week.

The Indian High Commission in London negotiated with the Albin Schram Trustees, which possessed the letter, and the latter, realising that sentiment in India was opposed to Gandhi memoribilia being auctioned, agreed to hand the letter over to the Indian government.

Details of the agreement brokered by the High Commission on behalf of the Ministry of Culture have emerged. India agreed to pay £18,000 (Rs 15.3 lakh) for the manuscript, a bill being footed by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

It was kept at the High Commission and sent back to India with ICCR director general Pawan Verma. Reliable sources said the manuscript would be handed over to the Navjeevan Trust and finally be lodged at the Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi.

Curiously, without any of the publicity that surrounded this one, another manuscript of Gandhi’s was auctioned recently at Sotheby’s for £45,600.

It was the draft of an article he wrote for Young India, discussing a range of political and cultural subjects. Sources said the successful bidder was a London-based NRI businessman, who intends to hand it over to the Navjeevan Trust