Formely owned by Mahatma Gandhi, political
and spiritual leader of India, later given to his grandniece,
Abha Gandhi. Accompanied by Gandhi’s sandals,
bowl, plate, glasses, images of Gandhi and letters of
authenticity from Ghita Mehta, Talatsahid Khan Babi, and
Professor Lester Kurtz.
The watch: Zenith, movement No. 421357, case No. 49529.
Made circa 1910.
Fine, rare and Historically Important, sterling silver keyless pocket watch with alarm function.
|C. Three body, "bassine", hinged engine-turned case back, hinged silver cuvette. D. White enamel with luminous Arabic numerals, outer
minute track, subsidiary sunk dials for the seconds at 6 and the alarm at 12. Blued steel skeleton hands. M. Cal. 21"', gilt brass, 15 jewels,
straight-line lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance, blued steel Breguet balance spring, index regulator.
Dial and movement signed, numbered on the case. Diam. 49 mm. Thickness 16 mm.
The Sandals: Gandhi apparently gave the sandals to a British military officer in Aden in 1931 during his trip from Bombay to London.
The officer took photographs of Gandhi in Aden prior to the Roundtable talks regarding Indian Independence. In exchange, it is believed
that Gandhi gave the officer his sandals.
The Bowl/plate (thali): The bowl and the plate (thali) were also gifts that Gandhi bestowed upon Abha, his grandniece. They are accompanied
by letters of authenticity from Ghita Mehta, Abha's daughter who inherited them upon Abha’s death. She writes that both the
bowl and the thali were used by Gandhi and given to her mother as gifts in the 1940s.
The Glasses: This pair of glasses having belonged to Gandhi are thought to have been given to Colonel H. H. Shiri Diwan Nawab,
Sir Muhammed Mahabat Khanji, the 3rd Rasul Khanji, Nawab Sahib of Junagadh, by Gandhi, most probably at his Ashram in Ahmedabad
in the 1930s. It is said that when Mahabat asked Gandhi for inspiration, Gandhi handed over his glasses saying they were the “eyes” that
had given him vision to free India. The glasses are accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the Colonel’s great grandson, Talatsahid
Khan Babi and another from Dr. Lester Kurtz.
|Estimate: 20,000 USD - 30,000 USD
Estimate: 16,000 EUR - 23,000 EUR
Estimate: 23,000 CHF - 35,000 CHF
|“There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end, they always fail.
Think on it…always. All through history, the way of truth and love have always won.”
(as quoted in Lester Kurtz’ “Gandhi and His Legacies”)
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Mahatma (an honorific title meaning
”Great Soul”) Gandhi was born in
1869 in Porbandar, India. He was an
inspiration to Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Desmond Tutu, and many other major
figures of recent times. Time Magazine
named him the second most important
person of the 20th century, after Albert
Einstein. When serving in the American Senate,
US President Barack Obama placed a picture of
Gandhi on his office wall. Through non-violent civil
disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence from Britain. He is
officially honored as the father of the nation; his birthday, October
2, being a national holiday in India, as well the International Day of
Non-Violence. Mahatma Gandhi is recognized as one of the most
prominent political and spiritual leaders of the twentieth century,
and probably of all time.
This historically important pocket watch belonged to Mahatma
Gandhi. It is said that Gandhi, who had a preoccupation with time
and being punctual, always kept his pocket watch attached to his
loincloth. In the 1940s, he gave this pocket watch to his grandniece,
Abha Gandhi, his assistant of six years, in whose arms
he died. As illustrated in Stephen Murphy’s book “Last Hours
of Mahatma Gandhi”, towards the end of his life Gandhi had an
extremely close relationship with his beloved grandniece Abha,
and was very dependent on her:
"The Mahatma's last day would be as methodical and crowded as
any other. Upon getting up from his wooden plank, he roused the
other members of his party. They included attendants Manu and
Abha, his grand-nieces.
After prayers, leaning on his 'walking sticks', Manu and Abha, the
old man moved slowly into the inner room.”
Gandhi’s watch and the significance he places on time are also
often referred to throughout Murphy’s book:
“Manu and Abha saw the hour but dared not interrupt such an
important conversation. At 5:10 they could wait no longer. Abha
showed Gandhi his watch. But he was not distracted.”
Abha and Manu teased Gandhi for neglecting his watch and
his timekeepers both. 'It is your fault that I am 10 minutes late,'
he responded. 'It is the duty of nurses to carry on their work even
if God himself should be present there. If it is time to give
medicine to a patient and you hesitate, the poor patient may die.
I hate it if I am late for prayers even
by a minute."
That was part of the last conversation
that Gandhi ever had – minutes
later he was assassinated, with Abha at
Upon her death, Abha willed the watch to
her daughter, Ghita Mehta. Accompanying
the watch and personal items of Gandhi’s
are letters of authenticity from Ghita Mehta.
In one of her letters, dated December 27, 2004,
“Herewith, I declare that the silver pocket watch was presented by
Mahatma Gandhi to my mother in the 1940s. My mother, affectionately
called "Abhaben", was the young woman on whom Gandhiji
used to lean and in whose arms he died.”
One of the most important features of the theory of satyagraha
as advocated by Gandhi was that means and end are inseparable.
He once made amusing use of a watch to illustrate this principle:
“If I want to deprive you of your watch, I shall certainly have to
fight for it; if I want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay for it; and
if I want a gift, I shall have to plead for it; and, according to the
means I employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or
Lester Kurtz is Professor of Sociology at George Mason University,
where he teaches peace and conflict studies, comparative sociology
of religion, and both western and nonwestern social theory.
He was previously director of Religious Studies at the University
of Texas and holds a Master’s in Religion from Yale Divinity School
and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He is
the editor of a 3-volume Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and
Conflict (Elsevier-Academic Press), co-editor of Nonviolent Social
Movements (Blackwell’s), and The Web of Violence (U. of Illinois
Press) as well as author of books and articles including Gods in the
Global Village (Pine Forge/Sage), The Politics of Heresy (U. of California
Press), and The Nuclear Cage (Prentice-Hall). He is currently
working on a book on Gandhi’s legacies as well as a documentary
film, “Peaceful Warriors,” with James Otis, narrated by Martin
Sheen. He has lectured in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America
and is the past chair of the Peace Studies Association as well as the
Peace and War Section of the American Sociological Association,
which gave him its Robin Williams Distinguished Career Award.
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