This is clearly a political move. We need Gandhi at all odd hours of the day and night to make some stupid point, including non-violence, this occasionally by trishul-wielding blokes.
Anyway, I am not a big one to get back our belongings. What do we do with all those swords and funny-looking outsize clothes of former kings?
Haven’t we seen enough of the steel-rimmed spectacles and lavatory sandals? I have seen them in quite a few museums, which makes one wonder how many pairs he had. Also, every public service campaign will draw an outline of those glasses and they have come to symbolise the man; the message is as hazy as it always was.
A report talks about an “action plan” to get all those precious items back:
...the government has devised a three-pronged strategy. “We are approaching the owners not to auction these articles and requesting to offer them to the government,’’ the official said.
If that doesn’t work, the second option is to prevail on the auctioneers to take these items off the auction to enable the government purchase them on a reasonable negotiated price. The third option is to request an NRI or the local India-American association to participate in the auction, purchase the items and donate them to the Indian government, he said.
Re. Plan A: The government of India is going to be indebted to someone out to make money. Will they add a little footnote ‘Donated by Mr. X, resident of Cincinnati’?
Re. Plan B: The Indian authorities want to shamelessly bargain for what they claim is their national asset? We name every damn road after the Mahatma, build expensive statues, and we are talking about reasonable price?
Re. Plan C: Oho, I can imagine all those NRIs going around with a hat. Let me guess. Not one of those big-shot guys will pay up because Gandhi is not going to get her/him anything concrete, not even a well-publicised wedding mandap. But they will convene at some charity dinner, get some singer/tabalchi to perform, donors will ‘buy’ a table for their tandoori night out…then they will reclaim Gandhi for us. What happens next? The government will have to do some ‘sopping’ for the grand gesture on the part of those who feel so much for our heritage.
No one has talked about Plan D. But one of these days some local industrialist will jump in to save these item numbers and become the messiah who brought back Gandhi where he belongs.
Maybe a liquor baron?