Indian Government Wants Gandhi Letter

Indian Government Wants Gandhi Letter


The following is a June 28, 2007 news piece from The Business Standard.

Keen to acquire Mahatma Gandhi’s rare letter that is up for auction in London, the government has asked the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to bid for it on July 3.

“We have received a communication from the culture ministry to bid for this rare letter of Gandhiji,” a source at the museum told PTI.

The communique from the ministry states the museum should seek “advice of the MEA and the Indian High Commission” to decide how to bid for the letter written by Gandhi for the Harijan on January 11, 1948, 19 days before his assassination. The letter had pleaded for tolerance towards Muslims.

Confirming that the government would make a bid for the letter, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi said the external affairs ministry has cleared the proposal.

The letter, being auctioned by Christie’s, is estimated to be sold for around 12,000 pounds.

The culture ministry swung into action after the Prime Minister’s Office asked it to take steps to acquire the letter.

The PMO’s attention was drawn by two Gandhians — Basant Kumar Birla and Satya Paul, a senior life member of the Servants of the People Society. They were disturbed by the fact that the letter was being auctioned and requested the Prime Minister to acquire it.

The culture ministry then wrote to external affairs ministry for its advice on how to acquire the letter.

The issue was discussed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee with Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon.

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