ASHWINI A. writes from Bangalore: Something that Indians rever was on the auctioner’s block in the Big Apple last night: the personal effects of the most selfless human to have walked this soil in the 20th century.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi‘s glasses, watch, sandals….
The Mahatma’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi launched a bid to retrieve the national jewels. Prime minister Manmohan Singh wanted the treasures back at all cost. Television anchors were frothing at the mouth. Backroom negotiations were on to prevent the auction.
Now it was off, now it was on.
Finally, on Friday morning, came the good news that the King of Good Times “Dr” Vijay Mallya had successfully bid for the items. “The nation can be proud and happy that the items are with us,” culture minister Ambika Soni said, chest all puffed up some pride, on television.
The Indian Government procured the five personal articles through the services of Mallya, she said, as it could not bid directly because of a stay order of the Delhi High Court.
But pause a moment to reflect on the irony.
And then imagine tomorrow morning’s newspaper headlines if there were some truly ballsy tabloids in the country:
“Mallya rescues Mahatma”
“King of Good Times bails out Old Monk”
“Liquor Magnate buys Gandhi Goodies”
“Beer Baron picks up Gandhi’s Glasses“
And then ask yourself this question:
In this country of a billion people, could the government of India only find a man, whose millions are built on liquor, to ensure that the artefacts of a man who abhorred it, stayed with India?
And then this question:
In rising, shining, growing India where corporate and industrialists and businessmen trip over each other to demonstrate their so-called “corporate social responsibility”, could only Vijay Mallya find the requisite crores in an economic downturn to prop up the Father of the Nation?
And then this one:
In the land of opportunities, in the US of A, in the land of a million Patels and Shahs hailing from “Vibrant Gujarat”—most of them motel owners, doctors, real estate brokers, investment bankers—could not a single Gujarati or a bunch of them find the wherewithal to help one of their own?
Why couldn’t the Birlas, with whom Gandhi shared a close relationship, in whose precincts the Mahatma received the assassin’s bullets, with a “Hey Ram!”? Why didn’t the Tatas or Mittals who are buying up companies all over the world as if they are going out of fashion?
Why didn’t the Ambanis of Chorwad—Modh banias like the Mahatma—who are building 24-storeyed skyscrapers or buying planes, for their wives on their birthdays?
Or how about churumuri‘s favourite IT czar: N.R. Narayana Murthy?
Infosys probably earns Rs 9 crore a day. Would it have been so difficult for the image-conscious company to buy up the items and erase the bad press Murthy got becuase of his perceived insult to the national anthem?
And so on.
Pardon me for going on like a stuck record. Sure, these are tough times, but the short point is: Is Rs 9 crore that big a sum for our Superbrands™? And do our corporates and their captains have any vision beyond the bottomline at all?
In an age when image is all, the Gandhi auction was a god-sent opportunity for individuals and institutions to score big time on goodwill and publicity.
In an electio season, what if the overseas outfits of the Congress or BJP had bought it? What if Mayawati had bought it, or Amar Singh who “donated” Rs 40 crore to the Bill Clinton Foundation? What if L.K. Adavni had, instead of spending silly zillions on Google ads?
What if Rahul, Priyanka or Sonia who have benefitted from the greatman’s surname?
While these people and others may rue the missed opporuntity, Vijay Mallya has earned his place in the history books after successfully bringing back the Tipu sword, proving once again that while he may not be everybody’s favourite CEO, he is certainly the smartest, the quickest of the blocks.
At least he puts his money where his mouth is.
As for the others, all they are destined to say tonight is “Cheers”, while Mallya laughs all the way to the bank.
Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Vijay Mallya
Hope Indian customs people don’t harass him like they did with Tipu’s sword.
What a combination of items to acquire! Tipu sultan’s sword on the one hand, which must have drank the blood of at least a few thousand infidels, and non-violent Mahatma’s innocuous articles.
As regards why other business barrons did not come forward to acquire these precious items, the answer could be that “imitation is said to be the finest form of flattery”. Probably, they did not want to flatter Dr.VM.
VM owes the state run OIL COMPANIES , thousands of crores.Interest on these dues would be 10 crores per month.He is a good friend of Praful Patel.All airlines operate as cartels.
What he did is NOBLE but there would be some concessions given to his company when the need arises.
So much for the Government’s ‘frantic efforts’ at bringing stuff back. From now on, I’m a Mallya fan!!!
Malaya claimed he independently bid for these stuff. Its a non issue made issue by media who has nothing else to do.
One person is missing from the list: SANJAY DUTTA, a Gandhian who kept AK47 given by terrorists!
The whole hulla gulla over this issue by Indian media shows why India is still a third world country with people who have no self esteem.
Could you please spare us the santimonius blabbering..pls?Let’s assume TATA has bought up the Gandhi’s personal effects,the following would have been the headline:
“A captalist who tried to usurp the lands of poor farmers in West Bengal,and then praised the ‘fascist’ CM of an Indian state rescues Gandhi’s belongings.Was there nobody else to do it?”
If it was done by a motel owning Patel,the headline could have been:
“Do a few of Gujaratis have a conscience or is it a ploy to show the world that they have a gentler face,inspite of repeatedly electing/facilitating Narendra Modi?”
Fact is there are way too many people full of politically correct hot air,always ‘shocked’,’disgusted’,’ashamed’ of one thing or the other,in this country..
You deserve a lot of accolades. You have restored invaluable souveneirs of our country back to where they belong.
May your tribe increase.
as far as i am concerned, only mallya has the class and taste to first bring back tippu’s sword and gandhi’s glasses.
the man loves his city, he loves his state, he loves his country. he is even willing to put money in kashmir. so what if he is a liquor baron. are you telling me that the gentleman who wrote this has not had a swig of mallya’s moonshine?
What a fine example of whingeing and hair-splitting. I do hope Churumuri will grow up or else it will just be an online version of television juvenalia such as Fox News.
It is commendable that Mallya(spare me the Dr please..) did what he did ; but why should him being a liquor baron be of any ill consequence ? I’m no Mallya fan and am a teetoatler to boot, but pray tell me, why does it matter that Mallya made his crores selling liquor ? Or for that matter, why does it matter who helped us get the effects back ?
Mallya sells liquor, which is happily consumed by the masses ; the government is more than happy to collect it’s share of spoils on the sales. So, why the complaining ? He is not doing anything illegal. We have a problem with Mallya bidding, while the sea of politicians who will turn up to have their photos with the artifacts are some of the worst criminals in the billion+ populace ? Or for that matter, are you sure all of the others you contemplate (Ambanis, Birlas et al) abhor liquor like the Mahatma ?
If it still does matter, maybe it is because we still carry the age old stigma for libation ? If so, thought wise(sans the physicality), how are we different from the Ram Sene who think it’s not OK for women to drink ? I think we as a society ougt to be smart enough to differentiate between abuse/addiction of liquor from social drinking and not further the stigma…
I dont see anything dishonorable in making a living out of selling liquor. He earns an honest living and has put his money where his heart(we hope) is!
This is terrible. Vijay Mallya represents practically everything Gandhi abhorred in the world. I’m pretty sure that Gandhi would have wanted his belongings to remain with whoever they were previously with, rather than Vijay Mallya. Mallya represents conspicuous consumption when Gandhi firmly believed in austerity. Vijay Mallya produces the swimsuit calendars every year while Gandhi believed in chastity. Vijay Mallya produces hundreds of millions of barrels of beer every year while Gandhi didn’t drink. In fact, I’m pretty sure Mallya knows close to nothing about Gandhi’s philosophy of life, and even if he did read about it, would in no way subscribe or understand the beauty of it. It seems the only reason he is buying these items is because he was taught to learn and repeat in school that “Gandhi is great, he was the father of our nation.” Thus, as an unthinking moron he simply devours the nationalistic refrain and buys the items, all the while stroking his overlarge ego that he did his duty for the country. The whole episode sickens me.
I really do not understand this. Just because someone has amassed wealth, why is he expected to give it back. It is up to him to give it back or not. But why do we always ask this question. We ask ‘what has Tendulkar done?’ ‘ what has Rajkumar done?’ ‘what has NRN done?’ Why should they ? They are good at what they do and let them be. They did not earn all that to spend it here. Why should Advani pay for it from his ad campaign? Who is going to pay for his ads then?
Vijay Mallya bought all of them back. Great, thanks Sir.He is a liquor baron, yes , so what – big deal. Our govt was sitting duck and is now blaring horns about the glory.
For me it should purely be the work of Govt. If it really cares about the heritage of the country. I am sure Gandhi used a lot more items than those. I have no idea as to where they are now?
Thanks to Media and our Govt’s negotiation skills, the price sky rocketted.
There is something common between Tipu and Mahatma ! Both advocated prohibition !
I am disgusted by Ambika Soni’s utterly shameless clawing for a share in Mr. Mallya’s achievement — even after the man denied her role in recovering the items from Shri. James Otis.
Smt. Soni and her friends are showing how petty politicians can get before an election.
When the horrible memories of Gandhi itself is eroding steadily from public memory, this is a pathetic effort by all concerned to bring back the belongings of Gandhi at any cost. What next, we will be bidding for Sarkari Chacha Nehru’s pink & green chaddi at Sotheby’s :)
And what is with Churmuri, asking this stupid questions about what has he done after making so much wealth. Why should somebody do anything just because he has made money. Churmuri should come out of this habit of looking at everything through a socialist perspective.
Mallya did it on his own and he was never approached by any politicians, including the congress which is now claiming it as an achievement.
I heard him talking to CNN-IBN.
And for all loosers who are crying that Mallya bought it, get real guys atleast somebody from India bought it.
And for all drinkers – lets celebrate, namma alilu seve ide idralli :)
Why all this stunt of getting Gandhi’s personal belongings NOW. Who is this man Gandhi? Sonia Gandhi’s Grandfather!? It was safer with the collector.
Some years back a grandson visited his grandfather in a village and found Mahatma Gandhi’s photo on the wall with a cotton garland. The grand son was surprised to see his grandfather was a Hollywood fan. He asked his grandfather as to why he has Ben Kingsley the Oscar winner’s photo on the wall and is he his fan? The Grand old man fainted and dropped dead!
How many know this!!
The Indian government rejected an offer by Otis to exchange the items in return for “a dramatic gesture” for India’s poor, such as increasing spending on public healthcare, or backing a worldwide tour to promote non-violence. An offer to simply buy the objects had been rejected. Otis said he wanted a major initiative “demonstrate to the entire world the commitment of the Indian government to following the principles of Gandhi’s historical message”.
This sense of National honor is misplaced. The alacrity with which the Indian Government scrambled for some dead man’s cheddis contrasts with their lackadaisical attitudes in ensuring their citizens well being.
Ideas could be worthy of mindless veneration, But not human beings. Yes! This is India, where a dead man’s watch has more importance than the millions of the living Dead.
The author assumes that if man is crowned as the “Father of the nation”, then he is somehow above all reproach. Or, that everybody else should fall in line and kowtow to the anointed being. Perhaps, All the above mentioned men and women don’t like Gandhi; Perhaps, They don’t think that he is somehow important. This should be perfectly okay in a open society, but apparently not to the author who insists on calling out names.
Imposing one man’s ideas on a Society in the guise of some silly anointment is another form of Fascism.
So far no one, not even Thushar Gandhi was aware that such things exist! In fact nobody cared about.
In fact there is no answer to Ms.Ashwini’s griefs like why Birla didn’t go for the auction or why Pramod Muthalik didn’t go to prevent!
Mallya just did it and he’s clear there was no govt hand in it. Moreover who are we to dectate hobbies to Liquor Barrons?
Anyway the caption of the post deserves an applaud!
I have a v diff opinion on this. The whole issue was blown out of proportions. Gandhi’s principles were not to attach importance to material possessions. And we tried to put a price on Gandhi’s possessions itself!!! I think its ridiculous. I am reminded of what sanjay dutt’s chemical locha told him – Break down all my statues, tear down all my posters – if you want to keep me somewhere, keep me in your heart!
Whatever it is, Jai Ho, Joy Ho to Vijay
Me is gonna drink a Kingfisher and watch Mallya Calendar Shoot thru MKGandhis Glasses….
King of Good Times and a very Old Monk – The BEST Headline
In 2020 another guy will come up with Gandhi’s old toothbrush, undies etc…
Gandhi was one among the most honorable of men in 20th century. All his ideals may or may not have been right (but then as life teaches us there is no absolute right or absolute wrong).
However, what one can’t deny is – he was the greatest India produced in 20th century. In both politics as well as social reforms, he was an unsurpassed genius. His ideals of non-violence, simple living, high thinking, fight against social divisions with unmatched control over the masses were all things that are totally missing in today’s politico-religious discourse.
He is easily the last of the Hindu saints till now, who tried to redefine hindu faith, tried to mend caste divisions and even religious divisions.
Mallya and others, who bid for this man’s meager possessions just to bring it back to India, were doing a great service. Just because others didn’t think of it doesn’t mean they didn’t respect the man, but just that they weren’t as sharp as Mallya in spotting an opportunity to do something to bring ‘goodtimes’ to people who revere the Gandhi.
Kudos Mallya – Way to go.
to make it available to people who revere the man.
I fully agree with you. I keep tellling the same thing to professional Mallya haters/bashers etc……
He is earning money within the framework of law. Only Mallya alone can decide how to spend it. He is 100% free to make his choice.
He is a great businessman.
Kannada kanda ,
you are 100% right yaar,
what wrong is it if we learn valuable lessons from anybody be it a liquor baron or a street urchin.That’s thir profession or business. no body should be prejudiced in life
“His ideals of non-violence, simple living, high thinking, fight against social divisions with unmatched control over the masses were all things that are totally missing in today’s politico-religious discourse.”
– I guess with Mallya’s action, some more light will be shed on Gandhi’s life. The younger generation will know a little more about him or at least be curious.
However, the greatest tragedy of our times was Gandhi’s dictatorial rule over “National” politics. In this, he wanted to be both saint and politician.
Hindu society has allowed for both roles in partnership with each other, in service of our society; but rarely if any, has it been combined in one person.
He was his own “check” and “balance”.
This allowed Gandhi unmatched authority over his “peers” and rivals to conduct his “experiments with truth”.
An authority he was prone to misuse to his “inner voice’s” benefit.
Sadly, Hindus saw in his unworkable schemes, great hope and then, experienced, proportionate suffering.
First of all Kudos to Mallya. When everyone else including govt keeping quiet he did the great thing As sarvajna Says “AADADE MADUVARU ROODIYOLAGUTHAMARU ” Hee did the thing silently.What if he earns his money thru liquor? he is not stealing or taking bribes he works hard for it. This is what gandhian principle I believe. KARMA YOGA. He is better than those self proclaimed Gandhians
Another thing why shuld people want NRN or Ambanis Or birlas Or TATA’s to do everything who ever it may be we got the things back. Why shuld these people only have to give it back to society why can’t we do it?
With 100 milliom people in the country even if everyone has contributed 5 rs it would have been a huge amt why didn’t we did it.?
What ever may be Mallya ‘s proffession he really did a good work we shuld appreciate him for his good deed rather than saying that gandhi wuld have wanted the things to remain with earlier owner than MAllya
I think it is cynical statment.
I agree with Pallahalli that MAllya spotted the opporutunity while others couldnt do it
There is a book named’Inhaling the Mahatma’ by Christopher Kremmer(sorry if the spelling is not correct), a journalist from Australia who has been working in India. The title of the book is from his reporting of the incident in Alahabad, where the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi immerses the ashes of the Mahatma at the Sangam. The urn containing the ashes was left in the strong room of a bank for FIFTY YEARS !!!It was bekieved that two pokiticians could not agree on who should STAR at the immersion ceremony immediately after Gandhi’ death. Thry depositted the urn in the bank and went on thier own way to reach whatever political heights they wanted to gain. A lowly employee of the bank told the story to Gandhi’s grand or great grand son and he had to fight the government to take possession of the urn. That is how much the Mahatma means to the country now. If Mallya could manage it, let us give him our god wishes. May be he can even get the Kohinoor back?
Gandhi said, “Means should justify ends”.
Can someone please enlighten me how Vijay Mallya got his father’s legacy even after being disinherited by his father who willed everything to his step-sisters … ?
>In this country of a billion people, could the government of India only
>find a man, whose millions are built on liquor,
Well what do we do now, send him a pink chaddi? Oh wait, if we badmouth him, how can we drink his stuff in our glorified progressive pubs ?
Mallya is as much a victim of circumstances as manyof us are. His father started the liquor business. He inherited it. He has been liquor producer as many of us step into father’s shoes carry on the business/profession.
ಅಪ್ಪ ಆಸ್ತಿ ಬಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರೆ ಅದನ್ನು ತೊಗಳದೇ ಇರ್ತಿವೇ?
What he has done deserves to be congratulated. Obnoxious attempt is Ambika Soni trying to bask in borrowed glory.
Ellaa O.K !!! Gaddalaa yaake?
vijay malya is an intelligent person. He will bargain for a better deal with Indian government, for the amount spent, presumably 10 to 20 times. I believe, in MCF case, he has taken waivers of several thouand crores, from banks, by taking over that sick company. He cooly managed to remove the right to recompense clause in the waiver deal. Thus, the banks donot have any claim now on the sacrifices made, even though they are making huge profit. Ware wah malya keep your strategy moving
It’s funny how the writer of this post has words for Narayana Murthy, Tatas, Birlas, Mittals for not buying the Gandhi artifacts. How about Ashwini avare, I tell you how to spend *your* money?? Please, get off your high horse. How they choose to spend their money is none of your business.
Narendra modi is a gujarati……. GANDHIJI is a gujarati… i am surprised that he did not make any efforts to bring back Gandhiji’s memorabilia…. That would have been a great “achievement” for his government……..
First, how did it go out of India? Shouldn’t that be investigated?
Mallya should first pay the fuel bill his airline owes to state run oil companies….
WE couldn’t preserve the nobel prize stolen from kolkatta museum… how secure are we going to keep this?
Kudos to Vijay mallya. My small contribution to VM efforts, a KF draught today. Gandhige jai, besh VM.
Mallya should not have paid 9 crores to buy these useless items. Kingfisher has its major market share in India and these 9 crores earned in India could have been put to better use than giving it to Mr Otis. Indians have been conned once more. It would have been notewotrthy if Mallya had donated this 9 crores to some Alcohol rehabilitation centre.
I like vijaymalya who got gandhi’s things back home.so what if he seels liquor? Now ub has captured whole european market an Indian brand is seeling there in west,Now gandhi name is used just to fool people and grab votes mallya has got real concren about our country well every industries do it.HE is far more better than our it ones who always blame govt for everything they blackmail govt for not being given fundamental facalities but mallya is an industrialist from many years without any or with least facalities the kingfisher airlines is therean indian airlines will fly through out the world he has got concern about our country and gandhi so he has brought it back.
Congress people/party never opened its mouth in this matter. They are least bothered. For them Gandhi is not Mahatma Gandhi, for them it is Madam Sonia Gandhi only , and they have forgotten another Gandhi Maneka Gandhi. Congress Culture…Jai Ho! What do they gain by getting a pair of old spectacles! When they have completley lost his vision they can’t see it. Mallya’s money is not black money. Recently a former minister was convicted and jailed for amassing wealth illegally!
Ok folks, lets start drinking beer instead of water and help Mallya buy back the precious Kohinoor. :D :P
Now Otis wants his stuff back.