M A I N   N E W S

Govt wants to seek Gandhiji's letter from Christie's

New Delhi, June 26
With hardly a week to go for a precious letter written by Mahatma Gandhi days before his assassination under the auctioner's hammer, government has stepped in with efforts to acquire it but Christie's today said it will go ahead with the sale.

Eminent Gandhians and those belonging to the Mahatma's family have also got into the fray and have asked the government to acquire the letter, which is to be auctioned by Christie's on July 3 in London.

The rare letter written by Gandhi, 19 days before his assassination, for his paper 'Harijan' on January 11, 1948, had pleaded for tolerance towards Muslims.

This will be among the handwritten treasures from a private collection to be auctioned by Christie's on July three. The Collection includes 570 lots of handwritten manuscripts by many notable figures of European history from the 13th to 20 Centuries, including Napoleon, Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde.

After the Gandhians, Basant Kumar Birla and Satya Paul, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the PMO asked the Ministry of Culture to take steps to acquire the letter.

The Ministry of External Affairs was brought into the picture and sources said the Indian High Commission was being asked to negotiate the acquisition of the letter.

A spokesman of the Christie's, who had sometime back estimated that the letter would fetch 9,000 to 12,000 pounds, today said Gandhiji's letter is part of the auction items on July 3 and ‘anybody can bid for it’. — PTI



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