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Sand soaked with Mahatma's blood to go under the hammer

April 17, 2012 16:32 IST

A pinch of sand soaked with the blood of Mahatma Gandhi following his assassination in 1948, some of his hand-written post cards and a pair of spectacles would be put up for auction in London soon.

These items have for long been zealously preserved by a Kerala-based antique buff.

Antony Chittattukara, a retired teacher and an ardent Gandhian himself, said the priceless Gandhi memorabilia would be put up for bids by global auctioneers Mullocks at Ludlow Racecourse, London.

The auction date was announced after completing all formalities like furnishing clarifications for the authenticity of the articles and the circumstances under which they came into his possession, said Chittattukara.

Antony said his collection of Gandhi memorabilia included eight letters, some hand-written and typed post cards, the spectacles used by Gandhiji when he was a law student in London and a piece of flannel given by a London optician with the reading glass.

The collection also comprises a prayer book in Gandhi's mother tongue Gujarati, and a gramaphone record containing the speeches he had delivered during his prayer meetings,
Antony said.

He said he had kept these items in bank lockers for nearly 20 years.

Antony said that earlier some auctioneers had approached him and offered huge amounts for his collection, but he was reluctant to part with them as he believed that no price could match the true value of these articles that belonged to the Mahatma.

These items, which he got from eminent Gandhian Raghava Poduval several years ago, were sent to the auctioneers three months ago. He hoped that through the auction, they would reach someone who would preserve them for future generations, he added.

According to Chittattukara, the soil soaked with the Mahatma's blood was collected by one Subedar P P Nambiar, who was one of the security guards posted outside the Birla House before Gandhi was shot dead.

Nambiar had kept it with him for a long time.

Some time ago, he issued an advertisement in newspapers in Kerala that he was willing to hand it over to the person who was ready to preserve it. Chittattukara then approached Nambiar and got a pinch of it from him for his collection.

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