Collecting Gandhi Souvenirs is his Passion

By Arpita Raj

Jayaprakash Sarda, 45, started stocking stamps since he was 10. By 1997, his collection included stamps issued by India Post since 1947.It was then that a roadside stamp dealer in the Fort area of Mumbai introduced him to what would become his life-long passion ­ a collection of memorabilia related to Mahatma Gandhi.jaiprakash sarda

“The costliest Gandhi stamps are from 1948, about Rs 25,000 each. Some 125 countries had issued stamps with Gandhi on them and I had them all. When stamp dealer Shabeer Slatewala offered to sell me a rare firstedition, eight-volume biography of Gandhi by B G Tendulkar, it aroused my interest,“ said the 45-year-old. Two entire rooms of Sar da’s Shanthinagar residence as well as his office are not enough to store his collections. These include more than 5,000 newspapers, 1,000 magazines, 10,000 stamps, 250 original photographs and a whole range of everyday items related to Mahatma Gandhi.Once Sarda started collecting items on eBay, focu sing on 1940s India, his reputation started growing and time dealers started contacting him. One of his most prized possessions is a wooden charkha used by Gandhi himself in Sabarmati Ashram.But Sarda doesn’t want to reveal its cost or that of any other item in his extensive collection. “The price is not important; what matters is the passion that has led me to it,“ Sarda said. One of his recent finds is a Gandhi portrait, handwoven in silk, at an erstwhile Indian diplomat’s residence.

Sarda thanks his family for supporting him. “There was a time when I would take early-morning flights to Mumbai, meet dealers at the airport and fly back. I even rode to Mysuru on my bike to pick up something that may go off the market,“ he says. While none of his children has shown interest in adding to his collection, Sarda hopes that his youngest daughter will carry on his legacy.(Source;Times of India Banglore)

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