Mahatma's Autobiography

Times of India, June 5, 2013


Bapu’s books still spin money for trust


Recently, an auction house in England sold Gandhi’s handwritten will penned in 1921 for 55,000 pounds.

AHMEDABAD: Mahatma Gandhi has famously said, "My life is my message". Over six decades after his death, Mahatma's life story continues to be not only an inspiration but also a money spinner — his autobiography 'My experiments with truth' generates an average annual royalty between Rs 35 lakh and Rs 40 lakh! 

This for a man who famously declared in his last will dated February 20, 1940, that he does not believe he has any property in his name. "Maari paase kain pan milkat che ae hu manto nathi," Gandhi says in his final will. 

The will penned and signed in 1940 in Malikanda — now in Bangladesh — is his last, noting that all wills drawn earlier should be considered null. The last original handwritten will, which names Mahadev Desai and Narhari Parikh as its executors, is with the Navjivan Trust. Recently, an auction house in England sold Gandhi's handwritten will penned in 1921 for 55,000 pounds. 

Managing trustee of Navjivan Trust Vivek Desai says that Gandhi's autobiography is a bestseller that continues to inspire people. "Mahatma Gandhi had willed all copyrights of his writings to Navjivan Trust, which was registered in 1929. He also decreed that 25% of earnings from sale and royalty of his books should be given annually to Harijan Sewak Sangh for the welfare of Harijans. Following his last wish, an average Rs 8-10 lakh is annually given to the Harijan Ashram as proceeds from the royalty generated from his autobiography alone," said Desai. 

Apart from the autobiography, Navjivan Trust publishes over 600 books and writings by the Mahatma, which also add to the revenue generated in his name. "This is possible only because Mahatma Gandhi continues to be relevant to the society and its people, not only nationally but also globally," says Kapil Raval, a trustee of Navjivan Trust. 


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