‘Money no consideration for buying Mahatma Gandhi’s house’

By Murali Krishnan, IANS,

New Delhi : Minister of State for Coal Sri Prakash Jaiswal Sunday said that money would not be a consideration for buying the house in South Africa where Mahatma Gandhi lived, and it would later be turned into a memorial.

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“The coal ministry will purchase the house and build a memorial on it. I don’t forsee any obstacle right now and money is not a concern at all,” Jaiswal told IANS on the eve of his departure to South Africa.

The coal ministry has announced that it intends to purchase the house.

Jaiswal will leave Monday for South Africa for five days along with officials of the government-owned company Coal India Limited to finalise the deal.

Situated at No 15, Pine Road, in the serene suburb of Orchards in Johannesburg, the oval-shaped -style house ‘The Kraal’ was designed by Gandhi’s confidant and architect Hermann Kallenbach.

Gandhi lived in this house for two years between 1908-09 while practising as an advocate and fighting racial discrimination in South Africa.

Ministry officials said the owner, Nancy Ball, who has been living in the house for over 20 years, was now keen to shift to Cape Town.

“I will meet the owner and find out if she is ready to sell the house. If neither she nor the South African government have any objections, the decks will be cleared,” said Jaiswal.

It is believed that the house is priced at $ 350,000.

“We will find out the prevalent market rates. But like I mentioned earlier money is not a consideration.”

Gandhi was a young man of 24 when he arrived in South Africa in 1893 working as a lawyer and activist.