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Followers of Mahatma Gandhi lament auction of artifacts

Ahmedabad/New Delhi , Wed, 18 Apr 2012 ANI

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, Apr 18 (ANI): Followers of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday lamented the auction of artefacts related to him, saying that such events failed to spread his principles and ideals.

One of Gandhi's followers, Chunnilal Vaidya, cited the example of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who had in 2009 bought an assortment of Gandhi's belongings for 1.8 million.

"When people have money, they can buy these items even if their views are different or opposite (to Gandhi). The last time this happened, it was Mallya who bought such items, even though his views on prohibition are completely opposite of what Gandhi thought," said Vaidya.

"Even his business is based on the same (liquor). If he took some money out of that to buy something that belonged to Gandhi, it was not to spread his message, but to satisfy his ego," he added.

Vaidya further said that such articles were perishable, and would lose their importance with time, while Mahatma Gandhi's message was a greater legacy.

"These items are perishable. If this money were spent to spread the message and to fulfill the vision that made Gandhi the man he was, then that would have been more appropriate. What happened was that money went from one pocket to another, nothing else changed," he said.

Meanwhile, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said this was not the first time that items associated with Mahatma Gandhi have been auctioned or have been put on the auction table.

"This is not the first time that items associated with Mahatma Gandhi have been auctioned or its been announced that they would be on the auction table. In the past, I recall when I was the Culture Minister, such instance were there. Once or twice government arranged to buy a few items," Soni told the media in New Delhi.

"There was another time when Vijay Mallya went and bought a few items from auctions like this. So, I don't know exactly what the government and the Culture Ministry decided in this particular case," she added.

A pinch of soil and bloodstained blades of grass from the place where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 was sold for 11,700 pounds at an auction in London.

The auction also saw many other Gandhi memorabilia going under the hammer including his iconic round-rimmed glasses. (ANI)

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