India buys Gandhi's belongings
THE Indian government has stepped in to buy a collection of thousands of letters, papers and photos relating to Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi ahead of its planned auction in London.
The archive, which belonged to Gandhi's close friend Hermann Kallenbach, was to have gone under the hammer at Sotheby's yesterday.
The auction house had put a pre-sale estimate of between R6.3-million and R8.9-million on the collection.
But the sale was pulled after the Indian authorities agreed to buy the entire archive.
"The Gandhi-Kallenbach archive ... has been sold in a private transaction to the Indian government," Sotheby's said.
The price of the sale was not disclosed.
Most of the correspondence, which spans five decades from 1905 to 1945, is from family, friends and followers of Gandhi, but there are also 13 letters written by him to Kallenbach.
India has in the past complained bitterly about private auctions of Gandhi's belongings, saying they insulted the memory of a man who rejected material wealth.