Mahatma Gandhis great-grandson Tushar is a relieved man. Sitting at his relatives residence in Vadodara,he recalls the message he sent to UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya after the latter bought Gandhis memorabilia at an auction in New York. The memorabilia includes Gandhis spectacles,a pair of sandals,a pocket watch,a bowl and a plate.
I sent him a text message thanking him for buying my great-grandfathers memorabilia. He added,He (Mallya) replied that he bought them as an Indian.
Gandhis memorabilia were on auction in New York despite an outcry by the Indians. It would have been a shame for all Indians and had memorabilia been bought by some foreigner the shame would have only compounded, said Tushar.
He added: The memorabilia had intrinsic value. They are priceless. The moment I heard that it has been bought by an Indian,I had a feeling of relief and joy. I thanked him. I have nothing against him. It was a pure commercial transaction.
Tushar is,however,unhappy with the way the Government of India strategised to buy back Gandhis memorabilia.
First they acted too late. The entire focus was on stopping the auction than on buying the memorabilia. Then,they wanted the Indians in the US to buy it. And when it didnt materialise,they panicked, he said. By this time,the value of Gandhis memorabilia went up from 30,000 US dollars to a high of 1.8 mn US dollars.
Tushar said he tried in his own manner to take part in the auction but couldnt collect enough funds.