Three letters that highlight Mahatma Gandhi’s deep concerns over the behaviour of his eldest son, Harilal, will go under the hammer at an auction in England next week.
Mullock’s Auctioneers, based in Shropshire county, are hoping to fetch between 50,000 pounds and 60,000 pounds for a set of three letters written by Gandhi in June 1935. “You should know your problem has become more difficult for me than even our national freedom,” says Gandhi in one of the letters to Harilal.
“Manu is telling me a number of dangerous things about you. She says you raped her before she turned eight and she was so hurt that medical treatment had to be taken,” the letter reads, in reference to Harilal’s daughter Manu who had come to stay at Sabarmati Ashram.
“The letters are written in Gujarati and are in good condition. These have come via descent from a branch of Gandhi’s family to the present vendor,” Mullock’s said in a statement.
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Harilal had wanted to go to England to study to become a barrister like his father, who had firmly opposed this. This led to Harilal renouncing all family ties in 1911. “Please tell me the whole truth. Please tell me if still you are interested in alcohol and debauchery. I wish you’d rather die than resort to consuming alcohol,” says another autographed letter.
The series of letters is part of Mullock’s Historical Documents Sale to be held on May 22.