Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Another Gandhi Update!

by Kathryn Hadley

James Otis, one of the owners of some of Gandhi’s possessions and a documentary maker and peace activist based in Los Angeles, is due to negotiate with the consul general of India in New York today about the auction of the items organised by Antiquorum Auctioneers. Yesterday, the Delhi High Court also issued an order against the sale, following on a petition put forward by Navjivan, a public trust founded by Gandhi in 1929, which has claimed the ownership of the possessions. According to an article published yesterday by AFP, Otis rejected an initial offer made through India’s New York consulate and argued that the sale would go ahead unless he received a more serious offer. Otis allegedly told AFP by telephone form Los Angeles that:
‘They made an offer I can't disclose, because I don't want to embarrass them:
it's that low’.
He stated that his intention was not, however, to cause a dispute and that he merely wanted the Indian government to undertake positive action to improve the welfare of the Indian population in return for the objects, to do ‘something positive for the Indian people'.
‘The point was never to cause anger to India or Indians or anyone over this
auction. We all want the same thing: to support, to promote Gandhi's works […]
Nothing would make me happier if the Indian government made a generous offer to
help its poor. I would donate these items immediately’.
Earlier yesterday, Ambika Soni, India's culture minister, also reportedly told the Press Trust of India that the foreign ministry would ask the US State Department to prevent the sale.
‘The Ministry of External Affairs is going to take up with the US State
Department the issue with the aim of stalling the auction […] Whatever is
required to bring back those items will be done’.

1 comment:

Derry Nairn said...

Anyone interested in the 'acquisition' of foreign loot may find this article interesting

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