Treasure trove of Mahatma memorabilia

Treasure trove of Mahatma memorabilia

Little knowing that his passion for collecting Gandhi memorabilia since the age of 13 will turn out to be a befitting tribute for the Father of the Nation, 41-year-old J P Sarda recently opened the door to his treasure trove for the first time to the public.

He showed a rare collection of pictures, stamps, postcards, confidential documents dating back to 1911, 1942, 1946, 1947 and 1948, newspapers from across the globe chronicling the life and events of Mahatma Gandhi till his assassination.

Incidentally, most articles that form part of his collection have been procured for a fortune in various auctions from across the globe which include original signatures by Mahatma Gandhi and two postcards sent by Gandhi to his friends within India.

“For every document, picture, article or even a newspaper, I have a certificate of originality for each memorabilia from the competent authority I have procured these from. Only after ensuring the authenticity that I have paid huge amount of money,” asserted Sarda refusing to cite the amount that he has spent on his collection.
“It is not the money that is important but the fact that these things are with me. It’s my legacy which I want it to be in my possession till I die,” he said.

In one of the postcards hand written in English and signed M K Gandhi, the Mahatma has invited his friend Ralph Richard to come and attend a meeting pertaining to Harijans committee in south India’s Devakottai.

Further in the postcard, Gandhi has asked his friend to also bring his family and children over.

At the Rangoli Metro Art Centre, MG Road Metro Station, standing amid his work which is on display, a total of 21 frames with 16 sheets each depicting the life and history of Gandhi through stamps, pictures, newspapers cuttings of those times, Sarda says, “ I started collecting the articles relating to the Mahatma as a hobby to begin with. Gradually, the hobby became my passion by saving upon my expenditure.”

His collection includes secret government documents, confidential reports of the CID dating back to 1948 hinting at tension between Hindu and Muslim groups, notifications informing the assassination of Gandhi, and the arrival of his ashes subsequently for immersion in the Triveni Sangam, original newspapers from a dozen countries carrying news of Gandhi’s assassination on the front page and most interestingly one a picture of Nathuram Godse testifying in the court.

  Some of the newspapers on display dated January 31, 1948, from different parts of the world, including a bilingual “Star and Herald,” published from Panama, with one page in Spanish and another in English carry the news of Gandhi’s assassination. Another on display is “L’ Humanite,” a newspaper which was linked with the French Communist Party.

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