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Gandhi items' auction disappoints collector

Kerala,Human Interest/Society, Wed, 18 Apr 2012 IANS

Thrissur, April 18 (IANS) Antony Chittattukara, a 70-year-old antique collector from this Kerala town, had expected to make over Rs.500 million from the auction of Mahatma Gandhi's memorabilia. But the auction, held at Mullock's in London Tuesday, fetched him only Rs.8.5 million.


"I expected the items to go for above Rs.50 crore because everything I sent for the auction was authentic and well-documented. I was planning to use the proceeds to set up an antiques museum. Now I'm confused because with this amount, I may not be able to create the museum," the retired school teacher told IANS.


The auctioned items comprised eight letters written by Gandhi, his spectacles, prayer book, gramophone disk, spinning wheel, and sand and blades of grass soaked in his blood taken from the spot in New Delhi where he fell to an assassin's bullets in 1948.


"I could not watch the auction since I do not have an internet connection. However, my son in the US and my daughter in Bangalore watched it live on the internet. Now, I will discuss with them and my friends about how to utilise the money," he said.


Chittattukara said he had received all the items -- except the disk and the sand and grass -- as gifts from his friend Raghava Poduval, a Gandhian from the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat.


Chittattukara used to teach at a school run by the Gandhi Seva Sadan near Ottapalam when he met Poduval, who later gifted him the items used by Gandhi. The blood-soaked sand and grass were given to him by a former army officer.


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