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Gandhi's rare Tamil autograph handed over to TN


May 23, 2008 20:39 IST

An 84-year-old freedom fighter on Friday handed over a rare document containing the
signature of Mahatma Gandhi in Tamil, to the Tamil Nadu government.

Seethapathi Naidu handed over the piece of brittle paper containing Gandhi's signature
in Hindi and Tamil, which he received as a "gift" from the Mahatma in 1938 when Naidu
was 14 years old.

Naidu said this day would remain in his memory as he handed over the most "precious"
wealth of his life-time to the state government.

Naidu handed over the paper to Tamil Nadu Tourism and Cultural Secretary V Iraianbu
at the Government Museum at a function in Chennai on Friday.

Naidu had accompanied his father, Lakshmipathy Naidu, to Nagapattinam, where

Gandhi was camping to collect donations for victims of the Bihar flood in 1938. When
Gandhi saw Naidu donating Rs 5, he presented him a piece of paper signed by him in
both Hindi and Tamil. "I am very happy that at last I am able to handover my most
precious wealth to the state government. I have taken a lot of pain to preserve the paper
for the last several decades," Naidu said adding he had to make efforts to prevail on the
government to take possession of it.

Tamil Nadu archives research officer J Subramaniam said the paper containing Gandhi's
signature in Tamil could be a rare one as he has not come across papers in which
Gandhi wrote in Tamil.

Museum special commissioner Shanthini Kapoor said that the paper would be handed
over to the conservation department before being placed for public viewing in the

Kapoor said it would take 15 days for the conservation department to preserve the paper