Archive for March 5, 2009

Bapu would have wept seeing the issue surrounding his memorabilia. A man who struggled for peace is surrounded by auctioneers, not to own him or his principles, but to own his five articles — metal-rimmed glasses, pocket watch, a pair of sandals and a plate and bowl.gandhiGandhi gave us freedom witghout using arms and now, the country is not ready to decrease its spending on military and utilise the same amount on the healthcare, especially of the poor!

Has James Otis, American auctioneer of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal items, has set so‘tough conditions’ for the Indian government to stop the memorabilia from going under the hammer?

His conditions include shifting priorities from military spending to health care, especially for the poor. Otis asked India to substantially increase the proportion of its budget spent on healthcare of the poor.

Personal belongings of Gandhi — metal-rimmed glasses, pocket watch, a pair of sandals and a plate and bowl — are up for auction at Antiquorum Auctioneers in New York. 

Besides, Otis also wants the Indian government to help offices of its embassies support educational events that use the Gandhi items to promote non-violent resistance advocated by him in 78 countries.

Otis said that he was ready to give the precious articles to the Indian government for free if it decides to spend five per cent of its GDP on the poor.

“Although India has made many improvements in its public health in recent years, according to WHO only 25 per cent India’s GDP that is dedicated to health care is paid out for public health initiatives. The other 75 per cent of health care expenditures comes from private funding,” Otis noted.

Otis also said that he has a sample of Gandhi’s ashes and blood collected from the site of the assassination, besides a blood report of Gandhi from Irwin hospital in Delhi and a signed telegram he had sent to students congratulating them on their peaceful struggle.

The auctioneers have fixed the reserve price of the articles between $ 20,000 and 30,000 but it might be raised when the items are auctioned. The ongoing media hype could sent the auction price sky rocketing.

Without decreasing funds on military expenditure, can’t the Indian government increase funds on healthcare? Afterall, it is the duty of the government to look after its citizens’ welfare and if Gandhi was alive he would have also felt the same.