Tushar Gandhi terms return of his great grandfather's belongings a 'miracle'

 
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Mumbai/New Delhi, Mar 6 (ANI): Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, today termed the return of his grandfather's items as a 'miracle'.

Expressing his joy, Tushar said he was grateful to liquor and airline magnate Vijay Mallya for coughing up 1.8 million dollars for the treasured icons.

"Ever since this happened, I've been saying that a miracle can happen in an instant, and yesterday, a miracle happened again. We never expected that Mallya would step in and save the nation's pride in this manner. And what he has done, is a case of great patriotism. I bow my head to him. I think this is an admirable act that he has done," he said.

"It's worth all the troubles and it's worth all the tensions. Its worth all the hard work that I had to put in for so many days. I think the reward is much more than what I had expected," a relieved Tushar said.

He said it would have been a disgrace if India had lost all the articles to some other bidder.

"If by any chance, we had lost these things to somebody else, it would have been a national disgrace. India would have been turned into a laughing stock in the world that we could not even save something that we feel so passionate about. So, I think it's wonderful that our honour has remained intact," he said.

Expressing satisfaction, Union Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said the government was limited by its own restrictions, and therefore, could not have taken a more direct approach.

"The government has many restrictions. Firstly it has to be seen which ministry will bid at the auction and to what extent, and which ministry has set aside money for the auction in its budget. No ministry has set aside so much money," said Soni.

The controversial auction had gone ahead in New York, despite protests from India, and the United States-based owner James Otis' last-minute attempt to halt it.

The items to be auctioned included Gandhi's round glasses, a pocket watch, leather sandals, plate and bowl for sale. Otis decided to withdraw from the auction only after the bidding had begun.

The auction was sharply criticized in India. Many view the items as part of the national heritage and want them placed in a museum.

Some Indians said the sale went against the philosophy of a man who shunned material possessions and led an ascetic life. (ANI)

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