A few blades of dried grass with Mahatma Gandhi's bloodstains on them, collected from the spot in New Delhi where he was assassinated on Jan. 30, 1948, will go under the hammer in Shropshire, UK, on April 17.
The grass is kept in a small wooden casket containing a small glass-topped box, according to Mullock’s auction house, which will conduct the auction.
The casket comes with a letter of attribution, dated Sept. 24, 1996, by P P Nambiar, who collected the grass upon Gandhi's death, five months after India gained independence in August 1947.
Nambiar's note to whoever will get the casket at the auction says: “The recipient has today received the most sacred of all relics a fraction of the pinch of soil I collected on 30 January 1948 from the spot where the Father of our nation M K Gandhi fell to the bullets of his assassin.”
The Mullock’s auction house describes on its official site that the casket is also accompanied by a copy of the “true but never heard before” personal reminiscences of Nambiar as he collected the soil sample on the day Gandhi was assassinated.
“In my search I found a drop of blood on the grass almost dried. I cut the grass and also took two pinches of soil from the brink of the pothole which I wrapped in a piece of Hindi newspaper found nearby. This is in my box even today. I keep it in a jewellery box brought by me from Indo-China in a later year. To me it is a treasure of immense sentimental value.”
A bunch of hand-written letters, autographed letters and typewritten letters plus a wooden Charka and a pair of metal rimmed glasses in original metal case are some of the other items that will go under the hammer along with the stained grass. The Charka is in “as used” condition, according to Mullock’s.
Photograph of Mahatma Gandhi visiting the British Regent in London in 1931 and his autograph letter signed ‘Bapu’ dated Feb. 10, 1937. Photo: MULLOCK'S AUCTIONS © 2012
Some other rare items to be auctioned include original vintage photographs of Gandhi when he visited the British Regent in London in 1931, a newspaper copy of the Montreal Daily Star, dated Jan. 6, 1932, featuring a front page article with the headline “Firm Hand in India Curbs Gandhi Campaign,” a few other newspaper clippings and a prayer book written by him in Gujarati.
The Mullock’s auction house expects to fetch about $ 0.16 million from the auction, according to Press Trust of India (PTI).
A wooden charka of Gandhi in an ‘as used’ condition. Photo: MULLOCK'S AUCTIONS © 2012
A pair of spectacles of Gandhi. Photo: MULLOCK'S AUCTIONS © 2012