Personal letters written by Mohandas K. Gandhi, known the world over as Mahatma Gandhi, accusing his eldest son of rape are to be auctioned in the UK next week, according to Press Trust of India.
Mullock’s, an auction house based in Shropshire county, is due to auction off three letters written by Gandhi -- an iconic figure in India's struggle for independence from the British -- in June 1935 accusing his son Harilal of raping his own daughter, Manu, when she was only eight years old. The auction house reportedly hopes to fetch about $83,695 to $100,434 from the sale of the letters.
“You should know that your problem has become much more difficult for me even more than our national freedom,” Gandhi reportedly writes in one of the letters. “Manu is telling me a number of dangerous things about you. She says you raped her before she turned eight and she was so hurt that medical treatment had to be taken.”
In another letter, signed by Gandhi, the leader is reportedly seen urging his son to tell him the truth. “Please let me have the pure truth, please tell me if you are still interested in alcohol and debauchery. I wish that you would rather die than resort to alcohol in any manner.”
Harilal, who harbored ambitions to go to England to study to become a lawyer like his father, renounced all family ties in 1911, after Gandhi did not allow him to do so.
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"The letters are written in Gujarati and are in good condition. These have come via descent from a branch of Gandhi's family to the present vendor" Mullock's reportedly said, referring to the local language spoken in the state of Gujarat where Gandhi hailed from.
"As far as we are aware they have never before been seen in public and as such they provide remarkable new information on the troubled relationship Gandhi had with his son." The auction house also said that the letters were in good condition even though they were written on the “cheapest paper."
The letters are reportedly a part of Mullock’s Historical Documents Sale to be held on May 22. Previously, the auction house sold a package of 50 rare personal belongings of Gandhi, including his blood and will, for about $480,898.