Mahatma Gandhi 'non violence' letter's '$7,000-plus' bids close tomorrow

Whether it's auctioneer David Feldman's sale of a 1948 10 Rupee Mahatma Gandhi stamp of India (it brought a World Record $205,000 price, pictured top right) or the Indian leader's glasses sold in 2009, Mahatma Gandhi is no stranger to the auction block.

And he's appeared again in a Nate D Sanders Auctions sale, with bidding set to close tomorrow (October 11). Among the auction's lots is an unpublished letter signed by Gandhi and dated 24 February 1920.

From his Sabarmati Ashram residence, this letter fascinatingly deals directly with satyagraha, Gandhi's doctrine of nonviolence methods of resistance, and the relationship between the British and India.

The satyagraha non-cooperation movement led by Gandhi encouraged Indians to resist British occupation using nonviolent means, such as refusing to buy British goods. It went hand in hand with swaraj, the growing movement for Indian self rule.

This letter, to Edmund Candler, the Director of Publicity for the Punjab, follows a particularly brutal massacre by the British that took place in Punjab in April 1919.

The two page letter reads in part: "…You may depend upon my making a ceaseless effort to promote peace with honour and to avoid violence under all circumstances.

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Gandhi writes of 'rude conduct of Englishmen' in his striking 1920 letter

"But my doctrine of non-violence is making slow headway because of the rude conduct of Englishmen generally towards Indian passengers on the trains and the Mahomedan distrust (not wholly unjustified) of the good faith of England in the matter of Turkey…

"I have been asking Englishmen to find a Christian as distinguished from a gunpowder solution…"

In September 1920, only months after Gandhi wrote this letter, Swaraj would be accepted by the Indian National Congress.

The Letter is signed in black ink: "M.K. Gandhi".

According to Nate D Sanders' condition report, the letter has suffered moderate toning and wear over the years, but is overall in very good condition.

Not surprisingly for a letter signed by the man who inspired all non-violent movements of the 20th century, the letter is doing nicely having attracted $7,001 in bids at the time of writing. Watch this space for the sale's results.

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