India buys Mahatma Gandhi documents for $1m ahead of UK auction

India News Bulletin Desk
Gandhi, Sonia Schlesin, his secretary, and Dr. Hermann Kallenbach (1913)
Gandhi, Sonia Schlesin, his secretary, and Dr. Hermann Kallenbach (1913)
Image: Wikimedia Common (

UK’s Sotheby's auction house has withdrawn the sale of thousands of documents relating to Mahatma Gandhi after Indian government purchased the documents for $1.1m (£708,000), according to reports.

The documents, which include letters written by Gandhi and his family members, papers and photographs, have been examined by a team of experts from the ministry of culture. It is likely to be a rich resource for academics, researchers and historians in India.

The documents previously belonged to the relatives of Hermann Kallenbach, a German-born Jewish architect who met Gandhi in South Africa in 1904. Gandhi and Kallenbach remained friends even after Gandhi’s return to India in 1915. The collection includes correspondence between them between 1904 until after Indian Independence in 1947.

Pulitzer prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld in his book “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India” suggested that Gandhi and Kallenbach had a very intimate relationship, according to the reviewers.

But, author Lelyveld has denied that he called Gandhi bisexual in the book.

Following the purchase, the documents will be placed with the National Archives of India, based in the capital city, New Delhi.

The collection also includes one letter, assumed to be written by Gandhi’s first son Harilal. "Father is becoming more and more awful," it read.

The rich collection, which will give insights into the life of Gandhi, would have fetched between £500,000 - £700,000 ($777,000-$1.1m) at sale in London, according to a BBC report.

Watch: ITN report on the previously planned auction of Mahatma Gandhi's letters at Sotheby's

Source: YouTube (itnnews) - uploaded on 25-June-2012

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