Liquor Baron buys Anti-Liquor Gandhi’s Possessions

What an irony!

That the sparse possessions of the lifelong teetotaller Mahatma Gandhi, the man who organized anti-liquor protests and fought for the imposition of prohibition, should now end up up in the hands of a liquor baron.

Gandhi’s few possessions like his eyeglasses, pocket watch and a pair of sandals that had lately become the object of an ugly fight have now ended up finally in the hands of liquor baron Vijay Mally, who’s made no secret of his fondness for the good things of life.

Bangalore-based Vijay Mallya made the winning bid of $1.8 million for Gandhi’s possessions that was auctioned off in New York City today but not before a media controversy erupted over the auction.

Read the details of the auction and the controversy in this New York Times piece.

5 Responses to "Liquor Baron buys Anti-Liquor Gandhi’s Possessions"

  1. Indian   March 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    So what is the irony in that?? In a fair auction, anyone has the right to bid and get what he wants… Responds:

    Sure, the auction seemed fair.

    The irony is that the abstemious, anti-liquor, for-prohibition Gandhi’s slim possessions should end up with a hedonist liquor baron traveling in a private jet. Gandhi would be appalled at such conspicuous consumption in a country where starvation is still not unheard of.

    As Mallya once said:

    whether people like it or not, i drink and i will continue to drink because i enjoy it.

    Hope when Mallya wears Gandhi’s glasses, he sees the India that Gandhi did.

  2. Indian   March 6, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Well… I read in the papers that Gandhiji’s possessions would go to the Indian Government. I am glad that Mr. Mallya was generous enough to splash 1.8 m on that (in addition to babes, bikini and booze).

    But we can’t be sure if the folks in the government are teetotalers..can we?? Responds:

    Vijay Mallya should not hand over Gandhi’s few worldly goods to the Indian government.

    Mallya should keep Gandhi’s meagre possessions with him…if he hands it over to the Indian Government, it’ll disappear in no time and end up at some other auction house.

    Since Mallya is a businessman at the end of the day, he can charge the public a nominal fee to see Gandhi’s few personal effects.

  3. OpenSesame   March 6, 2009 at 10:11 am

    More than the irony of the liquor barron buying the belongings of a great man who kept away from liquor, a more amusing irony is that the belongings of an Indian landed up in an American hands (is it stolen/bought/forced takeover?) and again they had to be bought for $1.8 million to get back to India.

    The same thing happened with Tippu Sultan’s sword. It was taken by the British and had to be purchased for 1.3 million pounds to get back to India (by the same liquor barron).

  4. OpenSesame   March 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    In this way, we should appreciate Vijay Mallya for getting these back to their origin instead of ridiculing him. The “Hope” diamond (now lying at the National Museum, Washington D.C.) once belonged to a Shiva temple in South India. It landed up in Britain by the sophisticated looters of India. Nobody will buy it from India even if it’s auctioned fearing destruction of the buyer’s family.

    Otis has become a rich fellow by announcing the auction of Gandhi’s items. It’s an irony and also a tragedy ‘coz India was being looted by foreigners (aliens in US language) from 1000 A.D. until its independence only to be looted by our own people (politicians & underworld) post independence! Responds:

    1. You write above: The “Hope” diamond (now lying at the National Museum, Washington D.C.)

    We’ll go there one of these days.

    We’ve been to some of the other Smithsonian Museums in DC but not to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum where the Hope Diamond is housed.

    2. You write: It’s an irony and also a tragedy ‘coz India was being looted by foreigners (aliens in US language) from 1000 A.D. until its independence only to be looted by our own people (politicians & underworld) post independence!

    Very true.

  5. the gora   March 7, 2009 at 2:23 am

    More high comedy in the last two paragraphs.

    “Criticism of the sale had prompted Mr Otis to make an unusual offer on Wednesday. He said he would donate the items to India if the Government agreed to increase spending on the poor or include the items in an exhibition that would travel the world.

    On Thursday Anand Sharma, a junior foreign minister, said that those terms would violate India’s sovereignty and that Gandhi himself would have rejected them.”

    It would violate India’s sovereignty, AKA it would violate the utopian lifestyle of the hundreds of millions of people every day who shit freely in the middle of the road and who clearly don’t need the money because said lives are indeed utopian in their existence. Responds:

    The Indian govt also pretended that it was acting in concert with the buyer Vijay Mallya, which he denied.

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