The government decided to ensure Mahatma Gandhi’s personal belongings,including his famous metal rimmed glasses,do not go under the hammers in the United States next month and bring them back to the country.
There are five personal belongings of Gandhi in the list of auction proposed to be held on March 4-5 at the Antiquorum Auctioneers in New York including sandals,a pocket watch and some utensils.
Whatever can be done is being done to ensure that articles are not auctioned by involving all concerned stakeholders, Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni said.
The Culture Ministry has arrived at the decision to intervene after extensive consultations with the Ministries of External Affairs,Home,Law and Finance.
Our embassy in Washington and Consulate in New York have been told to actively pursue the matter,said a senior Culture Ministry official.
As per the action plan,government has devised a three-pronged strategy to acquire these articles from the US.
We are approaching the owners not to auction these articles and requesting to offer them to the government on the basis of honour and due acknowledgement, said the official.
In case owners of the articles do not agree,the second option is to prevail on the auctioners to take these items off the auction to enable Indian government to purchase the items at the reserved price on a reasonable negotiated price,the official said.
The third option is to request an NRI or the local India-American Association to participate in the auction and purchase the items and then donate them to Indian government at a ceremony where their gesture would be given due recognition,he added.
Our primary aim is to acquire the articles. We are trying to ensure to safeguard the articles till we acquire them, said the official.
The Culture Ministry is planning to showcase these articles in certain museums after acquiring them.