India buys Gandhi archive from friend Hermann Kallenbach

The archive, which belonged to Gandhi's close companion Hermann Kallenbach, a German Jewish bodybuilder and architect, was to have gone under the hammer at Sotheby's on Tuesday.

The auction house had put a pre-sale estimate of between £500 000 and £700 000 ($775 000 and $1.1-million) on the collection.

But the sale was pulled after Indian authorities agreed to purchase the entire archive.

"The Gandhi-Kallenbach archive … has been sold in a private transaction to the Indian government," Sotheby's said in a statement.

The price of the sale was not disclosed.

Most of the correspondence, which spans five decades from 1905 to 1945, is from family, friends and followers of Gandhi, but there are also 13 letters written by him to Kallenbach.

'Gradually sinking'
They reference Gandhi's early political campaigns and the illness of his wife Kasturba.

"I no longer want to be angry with her so she is sweet … She had a few grapes today but she is suffering again. It seems to be me she is gradually sinking," he wrote in one letter.

In another, written before his return to India from South Africa, Gandhi wrote: "I do all my writing squatting on the ground and eat invariably with my fingers. I don't want to look awkward in India".

Indian historian Ramchandra Guha discovered the letters at the home of Kallenbach's grand-niece, Isa Sarid.

India has in the past complained bitterly about private auctions of Gandhi's belongings, saying they insulted the memory of a man who rejected material wealth.

Gandhi and Kallenbach became constant companions after they met in Johannesburg in 1904.

The friendship between the two men was the subject of a controversial book published last year, which suggested they enjoyed an intimate physical relationship. – AFP

Advertisting

ANC and the state step back from taking action against...

Despite alleged abuses of power and people’s trust, the ANC appears to have abandoned plans to reform the controversial Ingonyama Trust Board

Mkhwebane moves to halt ‘grossly unfair’ impeachment process

Mkhwebane moves to halt ‘grossly unfair’ impeachment process

Chaos theory: How Jürgen Klopp has harnessed the unpredictable

The Liverpool manager has his side playing unstoppable football but it’s the attention to detail off the field that has bred the success

Miners speak out against Sibanye

Not a year into buying Lonmin, Sibanye is accused of mistreating the mineworkers who were injured eight years ago during the Marikana massacre. But the platinum giant says it is a miscommunication. Athandiwe Saba and Paul Botes visit Marikana to find out the truth
Advertising

Press Releases

Wellcome Trust award goes to UKZN mental health champion

Dr Andr? J van Rensburg, a senior researcher in UKZN's Centre for Rural Health, received the Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.

MTN gears up to deliver improved customer service

On 28 January, the first batch of MTN contract customers will be migrated onto the new customer service platform.

Request for expression of interest on analysis of quality and outcome indicators for regional and district hospitals in Lesotho

Introduction The Ministry of Health of Lesotho with the support of the World Bank funded Nutrition and Health Systems Strengthening...

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA