Gandhi auction spurs protests, snarky commentary


Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, was famous for living a modest, austere life. His traditional clothes were made from yarn that he personally spun, and his few possessions were simple and utilitarian. He once gave away his glasses to an Indian Army Colonel, telling him that they were the "eyes" that made it possible for him to envision a free India, and his sandals, bowl, and watch were only excessive in their extreme simplicity.

It is all the more ironic, then, that Gandhi's glasses, bowl, plate, sandals, and watch should become the cause of amazing rancor. In spite of protests and the direct appeal of the Indian government, the items' owner, James Otis, will be selling them on Thursday, March 5. Antiquorum, a New York watch dealer, will host the auction, which is expected to generate upwards of $30,000.

When I began this post, I planned on writing something extremely clever and ironic as a closer, but the truth is that there are times when words are completely insufficient. The idea of a rich, pampered New York finance exec spending thousands of dollars on a holy man's tattered sandals when millions of people are losing their homes is pretty much the definition of irony, and I can't top it.