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Patil to bring back Gandhi items from London
Published on 23 Oct. 2009 11:37 PM IST
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President Pratibha Patil will bring back rare Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia when two NRIs will present her signed letters and a piece of signed khadi cloth spun by him. These items will be handed over by two prominent members of the Indian community to the president at a ceremony in London, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here ahead of Patil's three-day visit to London that begins Tuesday. Britain's knighted curry king, Gulam K. Noon, and Professor Nat Puri, founder of Purico Group, who had jointly bought these items at an auction by Sotheby's for 17,500 pounds in July, will hand over the Gandhi memorabilia to Patil at India House Wednesday. The items comprised three signed letters by Gandhi, a signed khadi cloth that was said to have been worn by him; two signed postcards by Gandhi and a series of letters by Jawaharlal Nehru to freedom fighter Mridula Sarabhai and to Maulana Abdul Bari, an Islamic scholar and a leading figure in the Khilafat movement. The letters to Bari were written in Urdu. The letters bring out Gandhi's commitment to the Hindu-Muslim relations and refer to communal tension in Lucknow and to the personal friendship of the Mahatma and the Maulana. The visit by Patil is only the third by an Indian head of state after S. Radhakrishnan in 1963 and R. Venktaraman in 1990. Rao said Patil's visit signals "India's commitment at the highest level" to deepen long-standing historical ties and strategic partnership with Britain that was forged in 2004.

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