Thursday, July 16, 1998 Published at 03:23 GMT 04:23 UK
World: South Asia
Gandhi letters bought for nation
Gandhi: Wrote of his fears of violence
Letters written by the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi have sold for £20,700 ($33,900) at auction.
The letters to an Indian Muslim leader expressed wishes for unity between Hindus and Muslims.
He hopes to meet the purchase price through donations.
Mr Singhvi said: "I think the price is rather high but there is no price (too high) for something that is a part of our heritage and history.
Price exceeded expectations
They had only been expected to reach about £10,000 at Sotheby's in London.
But fierce three-way bidding for the 18 letters to Muslim leader Maulana Abdul Bari pushed up the price.
The letters, which were too frail to be displayed at the auction, have turned yellow with age, and some are faded or stained with damp.
"I would have thought that they would best belong in a museum or professional archive because I think they need careful looking after to preserve."
The lot included eighteen letters and cards in English and Urdu, written by Gandhi between 1918 and 1924.
They were put up for sale by Bari's descendants.
Bari, a spiritual leader and founder of the Jamaat-i-Ulema Hind party, had great influence over India's Muslim population in the years running up to independence.
The letters reveal Gandhi's anxiety over riots which had broken out in India's biggest cities in protest against British rule.
He wrote: "I am disappointed because I have come away (from Delhi) with a majority that perhaps has no faith even in the policy of non-violence."
The Sotheby's catalogue said the letters gave a valuable insight into the mutual respect Gandhi and Bari shared.
In them Gandhi also discusses his health and experiences in prison.