There’s an auction scheduled today at Antiquorum on East 57th Street of some personal effects of the late Gandhi, including his rice bowl, glasses, and sandals. Indians are very touchy about their Mahatma; when Richard Attenborough solicited their input before making the film Gandhi, one of them said she would only countenance a portrayal of Gandhi if he were shown as “a moving light.” (Attenborough responded that he would not spend millions to make “a film about bloody Tinkerbell.”) So naturally they’ve been upset about the auction, and have been working to either stop it or to place the winning bid.
Negotiations between Indian officials and Antiquorum have broken down, and the auctioneers refuse to recognize a stay issued by an Indian court. Today the Times reports that the owner of the effects, James Otis, offered to turn the items over to India if it would agree to “sharply increase” spending on the nation’s poor, or sponsor a “traveling exhibition” of the effects. Both courses India rejected. So India’s only hope is to win them at the 2 p.m. auction, or for Ganesha or one of those guys to bust through the wall like Kool-Aid Man and dish out some karma. Photo via Antiquorum.