GANDHI, MOHANDAS K. 1869-1948.
1. Wooden chappals with rounded toe pegs, 260 mm, left heel chipped (25 mm).
2. Thread fragment from Gandhi's ashram, in slip of paper folded to 54 x 33 mm, with manuscript inscription in German.
3. Mounted photograph of Gandhi, 154 x 102 mm, inscription beneath reading, "On the occassion [sic] of Diamond Jubilee of Mahatma Gandhi completing his 60th Birthday on 2nd Oct 1929. Yours sincerely [signature?]," framed.
4. Typed Letter Signed ("Indira Gandhi"), 1 p, 8vo, New Dehli, March 9, 1966, to Franziska Standenath, on Prime Minister's House stationery, with envelope, folding creases.
WITH: Letter of provenance from the family of Franziska Standenath.
AN EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION OF MATERIAL INCLUDING A PAIR OF WOODEN SANDALS WORN BY MOHANDAS K. GANDHI, FROM THE COLLECTION OF INDIA SCHOLAR FRANZISKA STANDENATH, GANDHI'S ONE-TIME PERSONAL ASSISTANT. Gandhi was famously a man of few personal possessions, and over the years his sandals have become, along with his spectacles and walking staff, one of the most powerful symbols of his life and vastly influential legacy. The present pair of simple wooden sandals, or chappals, retain a distinct impression of Gandhi's toes, heels, and the balls of his feet, and are an example of the type of sandals that Gandhi inspired countless Indians to fashion on their own, as an assertion of Indian economic independence and as a pragmatic means of resisting British rule. In 1931, Standenath published Indiens Freiheitskampf: vier Monate gast Mahatma Gandhis, an influential account of the four months she spent traveling throughout India with Gandhi as his personal assistant; in her final will and testament, she recounted the moment when "Mahatma Gandhi removed his sandals and gave them to me as a parting gift" ("...die für mich als Abschiedsgeschenk von seinen Fuß gestreiften Sandalen Mahatma Gandhis..."). The two maintained a life-long friendship, and letters from Gandhi to Standenath (in which Gandhi addresses her as "Savitri") are published in The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi [e-book, New Delhi: Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes], and can also be found in the collections of the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi. In addition to the sandals, Standenath was in possession of a fragment of thread from Gandhi's ashram, included here in a slip of paper with an inscription in Standenath's hand testifying that the thread had "fallen ... in her presence." The lot also includes a letter from Indira Gandhi, who writes to Standenath that she is "happy to hear from such a devoted friend of my country," and that she was "especially interested to learn of the prayer meeting in Sabarmati Ashram where you played Bach for Bapuji."
- Following Mrs. Standenath's death in 1971, a portion of her estate, including correspondence with Gandhi, was given to the Austrian National Library. In 2009 a larger portion of her estate - comprised of various artifacts and documents pertaining to her work with Gandhi - was given to the University in Graz (Styrian Provincial Archives).
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