Thrissur (Kerala), April 17 (IANS) A 70-year-old retired school teacher has been waiting patiently for the outcome as his rare collection of Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia went under the hammer in London Tuesday. He intends to use the proceeds to set up an antique museum.
Speaking to IANS, Antony Chittattukara said that since he does not have internet, he is waiting to hear the news of the auction either from his son in the US or his daughter in Bangalore.
‘I have been preserving eight letters written by Gandhiji, his spectacles, prayer book, a gramophone disk, a foldable chakra and a tea spoon of blood stained sand including two blades of grass from the spot where Gandhiji fell down after being shot,’ he said.
A fervent antique collector, Chittattukara got all the items except the gramophone disk and the teaspoon sand for free from Raghava Poduval, a Gandhian who was at the Sabarmati ashram and later became his friend.
‘I was a teacher near Ottapalam at a school run by the Gandhi Seva Sadan. When I was there I accidentally met Poduval and we became friends. Even after my retirement we kept close company and it was from him I received most of the things. Since I was an antique collector, he knew the things would be safe in my custody,’ added Chittattukara who has been keeping this for more than two decades.
He added that he got the blood soaked sand from a former army officer who was posted at the place where Gandhi was shot dead.
‘ I had couriered all these valuable antique pieces to London. I am waiting to hear what happened in London,’ said the teacher who lives alone here.
A widower now, Chittattukara said that he has been told that he can expect around Rs.7 million (Rs.0.7 crore).
‘I feel I will get more than that and my dream would be accomplished if I get around Rs.5 crore because that is the money I want to set up a state of the art antique museum. Well let us wait and see how much I will get,’ he said.