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Gandhi relics to be auctioned in Britain

Spinning wheel expected to sell for more than $100,000

Gulf News

New Delhi: Over 60 rare items belonging to Mahatma Gandhi, including the spinning wheel he used when lodged at Pune’s Yerwada Jail during India’s freedom struggle, will be auctioned on November 5 in the UK, officials said Monday.

Expected to sell for approximately $97,003 (Dh356,000) to $129,311 (Dh475,000), the “charkha” or spinning wheel was presented to American missionary Floyd A. Puffer — a pioneer in Indian educational and industrial cooperatives.

“Puffer invented a bamboo plow which was adopted by Gandhi and in return for his contribution to Indian life, Gandhi presented him with the spinning wheel which he used in prison,” the auction house said in a statement.

The traditional charkha was bulky and difficult to move, so Gandhi devised this particular spinning wheel in jail, which was lighter, could be folded and had a handle for carrying, said the auction house.

“This would have been one of Gandhi’s most prized possessions as he devised the workings of it himself, it has impeccable provenance and is unquestionably the most important Gandhi artefact we ever had for sale,” said Mullock’s specialist Richard Westwood Brookes.

The auction would be “the largest sale ever” to be held, with over 60 artefacts, including important documents, photographs and books belonging to Gandhi, said Mullocks.

The sale also includes a number of historical items related to the Sikh and Mysore kingdoms, including a 19th century painting of Tipu Sultan, an early account dating to 1805 of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and a rare miniature Quran printed for the Muslim soldiers who fought alongside allied forces in the First World War.