Heirs Decry 'Immoral' Sale of Gandhi's Stuff

'Insult' to India 'must be stopped,' says great-grandson
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 16, 2009 7:13 AM CST
In this undated photo released by Antiquorum Auctioneers, Mahatma Gandhi's sandals are shown. The items will be offered at auction by Antiquorum in New York on March 5.   (AP Photo/Antiquorum Auctioneers)
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(Newser) – Mahatma Gandhi’s heirs have slammed a New York auction of his few belongings, calling it “immoral,” the Daily Telegraph reports. “It must be stopped," said Gandhi’s great-grandson. "It would be a grave insult to the nation if these items”—including sandals, pocket watch, and spectacles—“were sold off.” Indian MPs have called for the items’ return, and people worldwide have offered to donate a month’s salary to the fight.

The younger Gandhi says the seller, a collector who chairs a Berlin foundation devoted to Gandhi’s philosophy, got the items by traveling Gujarat in the 1990s—even securing rights to the pocket watch from Gandhi's grandniece who held him as he lay dying. "Collecting these items has been a systematic lucrative operation," he said. The lot's reserve price is currently $43,000, but experts expect a much higher sale price.