Gandhi's prayer beads, letters to go under hammer in UK

London, May 2 (IANS) The sale of effects and documents belonging to Mahatma Gandhi will be organised in Ludlow in England May 21, a statement from a renowned auction house in Europe said Thursday.

"His personal prayer beads, his shawl, made from linen thread he spun himself, his bed sheet, his personal bowl with fork and spoon, his personal drinking cup and even his personal ivory carved 'three wise monkeys' would be on auction, the statement said.

The auction would be organised by Mullock's, a premier European auction house specialising in sporting collectibles, fishing memorabilia, historical documents and ephemera.

The sale will take place during the next auction of important historical documents at Ludlow Racecourse in the English Midlands organised by the auction house.

"This is unquestionably one of the most important sales relating to Indian history to be staged in recent years," said Mullock's historical documents expert, Richard Westwood-Brookes, in a statement.

Also in the sale is Gandhi's will and power of attorney, which he wrote in 1921, and a series of important letters.

One of these, written in 1937, settles an highly controversial dispute which was taking place within the Indian National Congress.

There are also original portraits and photographs of Gandhi, some of which were personally signed by him.

In addition to the items of Gandhi interest, the sale also features a wealth of documents, paintings and artefacts relating to India and the Punjab.

These include rare original photographs of HH Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last maharaja of the Sikh empire, who lived in exile in Britain from the age of 13. He is also known as the first Sikh settler in the UK.

On auction May 21 would be photograph of Duleep Singh with the young Edward VII, king of Britain between 1901 and 1910.

There is also a highly important letter written by one of the first soldiers to arrive on the scene after the battle of Saragarhi of Sep 12, 1897, one of the most famous battles in Sikh history when 21 brave Sikh soldiers took on an Afghan army of 10,000, choosing death over defeat.

Elsewhere in the sale are important Sikh paintings including a particularly fine painting of a Sikh warrior with a lady companion.

There is also a painting of great Muslim interest, an 18th century painting of the footprints of the Holy Prophet.

"We are offering many highly important and unique items and we are expecting strong interest from around the world," Westwood-Brookes said.

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