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Indians try to recover Gandhi items up for auction

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Mahatma Gandhi advocated not clinging to material possessions, but Gandhi fans today don't seem to mind fighting over the ones he left behind.

Indians around the world are scrambling to recover the independence hero’s glasses and other effects going on the auction block Thursday in New York.

It’s the second set of Asian relics to go under a Western hammer in recent weeks – and kick up controversy in the process. On Monday, a Chinese national upended the orderly world of high-end auctions by making the winning bid on two antique bronzes whose sale China had protested. He then refused to pay for them, calling it his patriotic duty. See the Monitor’s coverage on that drama here, here, and here.

India’s government and concerned citizens have taken other tacks to retrieve their national treasures, which include Gandhi’s spectacles, pocket watch, sandals, blood-test results, and a bowl and plate.

On Tuesday, Navjivan, a public trust founded by Gandhi in 1929, won its petition to legally block the auction of Gandhi’s possessions. But the jurisdiction of the high court in Delhi doesn’t extend around the world to New York.

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