Two letters – one hand-written by Mahatma Gandhi and the other autographed by him – went under the hammer on Monday evening at a heritage auction held by the Rajgor’s Auction House at Vivanta by Taj. Estimated at Rs 1-2 lakh each, they exceeded expectations and were sold for the hammer price of Rs 11.5 lakh and Rs 9 lakh respectively.
The letters are written in Gujarati and carry the Mahatma’s teachings. The hand-written letter dated August 10, 1935, written from Wardha, was addressed to Bhujangilal Chhaya, a young relative of Gandhi’s. It reads: “Do what your conscience tells you and your strength permits you to do. What others may advise is not one’s dharma. Dharma is what a man himself believes to be such. How can another man know our heart? You should, therefore, pray to God to help you recognise your path. He is the only true guide.”
The second letter was written by one of his assistants on October 5 1935 in Gujarati but signed by Gandhi. This too was addressed to Chhaya and it talks about respecting one’s commitment. It also dissuades him from rebelling against his parents. The founder of the two-year-old auction house, Dilip Rajgor says, “The letters have never been auctioned in India before. While the estimate price in India was low, internationally they are worth up to Rs 30 lakh.” Though the letters are an important part of our history, since they are less than a hundred years old, they are exportable items and can be sold outside the country, he says.
Apart from the letters, two more lots were dedicated to Gandhi, a gramophone recording by him in 1931 and a hand-painted porcelain brooch with him image. Though these four items were the most sought-after, other significant items included antiquities and paintings from as early as the 13th century. The highest bid was for a 4.01 carat unmounted diamond at Rs 95 lakh.