News / Asia

India Buys Gandhi's Correspondence Before Auction

Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, smiles in this 1947 file photo, location unknown.
Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, smiles in this 1947 file photo, location unknown.
Anjana Pasricha
NEW DELHI — India has bought a collection of  letters and other documents relating to Mahatma Gandhi, which were set to be auctioned in London. The archive is expected to shed new light on the Indian independence leader.

The letters, photographs and other papers bought by the Indian government belonged to Hermann Kallenbach, a German Jewish architect whom Mahatma Gandhi met in South Africa in 1904 and with whom he became close friends.

Before Sotheby's could auction the collection off Tuesday in London, the Indian government struck a deal to buy the archive for $ 1.1 million from Kallenbach’s relatives.

A handful of the thousands of documents are written by Gandhi, himself.  The rest are written by his friends and family.

Mushirul Hasan heads the National Archives in New Delhi, where the correspondence relating to Gandhi will be kept. He says the government bought the collection because the papers are of historical significance and should be in India. The collection spans five decades, including the 20 years the Indian leader spent in South Africa.

“It’s an important collection - more so because it deals with the years in South Africa and there is some wonderful correspondence between him and his sons and Kallenbach," said Hassan. "These are early years.  These are formative years.  So anything connected with his stay in South Africa is very revealing.”

Mahatma Gandhi’s time in South Africa is believed to have deeply shaped his thinking. It was there that he began his civil rights work and developed the concept of non-violent resistance after encountering discrimination.

The independence leader’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi, who lives in Mumbai, says the correspondence will provide valuable insight to researchers into the life of Gandhi, who is also known in India as “Bapu” or "father."

“This was one of his first very close friendships, with Herman Kallenbach, at a time when Bapu [Gandhi] was evolving into a public figure from a private lawyer, and so this would have a lot of insight into that process of evolution," Tushar Gandhi said. "The friendship spanned a long period of his lifetime, so it also would reflect on his personal state during that period.”

The documents also give an insight into his life in India after returning from South Africa.

A controversial biography of Gandhi by Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph Lelyveld, published last year, alluded to an intimate relationship between Kallenbach and Gandhi and raised a storm of protest in India. Some reviewers said the book cited correspondence which suggested that the two men had had a homosexual affair. The author denied it.

An Indian historian had discovered the letters at the home of Kallenbach’s grand niece.

In the past, India has complained about private auctions of Gandhi’s belongings. In 2009, an Indian businessman bought some of his possessions which had been put up for auction in New York. India says the Mahatma’s heritage belongs to the country.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More