Coins of Gandhi to his ashes, Jhunjhunwalla has it all

Coins of Gandhi to his ashes, Jhunjhunwalla has it all

From coins, currency notes, stamps to a small box containing the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi, Mumbai-based Kishore Jhunjhunwalla has almost everything. 

For the 76-year-old businessman-turned-enthusiast, Gandhiji is everything.  

There are several museums and institutions on Gandhiji, but Jhunjhunwalla is a walking-talking museum.

"This is an effort of half a century. I have devoted my life. This should not go waste," he said.

Besides, Gandhi, he also has huge collectables on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. 

All the articles, several thousands, valued at several crores, are kept in his sea-facing Malabar Hill flat or his office in Tardeo. 

"As a child, I used to collect stamps,  in 1969 when the centenary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi was held, I was around 25 and my interest rose... it started and never ended and now we are celebrating his 150th birth anniversary," he said, adding that he displays his collections in exhibition but wants the Central government to do something to preserve such a collection.

"Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy was 'hate the sin,  not the sinner'... and I believe in the same... when people look at my collection they call mad, maverick... yes, I am,"  he said,  adding that he had travelled to South Africa and London.  In fact, during March,  2005,  the 75th anniversary of Dandi march,  he also walked on foot on the same route and got a card stamped at every post office that he came across. 

Jhunjhunwalla's Gandhi collection includes statues, figurines, photos, portraits, keychains, commemorative gold and silver coins. He even has a geometry box and torches containing images of Mahatma Gandhi. 

"There is a huge collection of letters written by Gandhi ji, newspaper clippings... this itself can be turned into a book," he said, and also displayed some of the rare black-and-white photographs of Mahatma Gandhi with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Bose,  Sardar Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Ravindranath Tagore. 

Now, Jhunjhunwalla has started documenting everything that is named after Gandhi in India and the world.

"Whether it is road, school, museum, garden, institution, government office, private property... I am documenting... in Mumbai only there are hundreds,  in India there would be lakhs," he said,  adding that this shows the popularity of Mahatma Gandhi and his relevance today.

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