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Gandhi letter up for auction in Shropshire

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A letter written by Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi from a British prison cell nearly 70 years ago is set to go under the hammer in Shropshire.

Bids of up to £15,000 are expected for the letter, written in 1943 while Gandhi was being kept in detention in India by British forces, when it is auctioned off at Mullock's in Ludlow next week.

Gandhi's signature on the third page of a letter written by him during his incarceration

It has been described as 'one of the most important' Gandhi ever wrote.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert at the auction house, said the typewritten letter, addressed to the Additional Secretary of the Government of India in New Delhi, was important evidence of his desire for Indian independence through peaceful means.

He said: "Gandhi knew that there were two clear cut factions in the Congress – the first believed in non-violence as was Gandhi's philosophy, while the second believed in armed struggle. This second group had already gone underground splitting into two splinter groups – the Indian National Army, which had allied itself to Hitler's Germany and was supported by General Tojo in Japan, and the Azad Dastas, which was bent on an armed campaign within India.

Mahatma Gandhi

"This letter, couched in coded diplomatic terms, therefore signifies Gandhi's desire to achieve a diplomatic strategical struggle for independence and eventual successful establishment of the state of India.

"The letter comes with research notes and letter of provenance prepared by the present vendor."

The auction takes place on February 14. For details visit www.mullocksauctions.co.uk or call (01694) 771771.

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