Today, James Otis, a Los Angeles based collector plans to auction a few possessions of Mahatma Gandhi.
Namely the signature spectacles, his pocket-watch, a pair of sandals and some eating utensils.
Since the announcement of this auction, Thushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Gandhi and the Indian government have been making a collaborative effort to stop this auction and bring these items back home to India.
But at the last minute Otis has rejected their offer calling it “generous but small“
He had valued these items at a reserve price of between $20,000 to $30,000.
This is the same man who earlier this week said “Gandhi didn’t value possessions . . . and I don’t either.”
He is also apparently ‘shocked’ by the controversy it has caused and states that his only intent was to reawaken Gandhi’s message of non-violence through this auction.
Otis, a ‘peace activist’, expresses concern about violence being the medium of conflict resolution in these times and voices the need for non-violent measures. To support his argument, he even cites the fact that president Obama has sent 17000 of troops to Afghanistan since he assumed office.
Somehow I fail to see how a pair of $20,000 spectacles could promote peace in the middle-east by any stretch of imagination.
In my opinion, it serves the Indians right for selling these items off in the first place.
But that still doesn’t make it right for some American collector to make a buck out of it.
Especially not under the guise of promoting Gandhi’s work.