Kingfisher Airlines boss spends $1.8m on Gandhi’s sandals


Kingfisher Airlines chairman and Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya has splashed the cash on a totally different kind of purchase, far removed from the bling he’s normally associated with. Mallya has spent $1.8 million on a selection of possessions belonging to Indian peace activist and political leader Mahatma Gandhi.

The possessions, which were controversially auctioned off in New York, include a pair of sandals, a pocket watch and Gandhi’s trademark round spectacles.

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I’m not sure what Gandhi – who was assassinated in 1948 – would make of the fact that somebody has spent such an enormous amount of money on these few possessions. After all, he lived very simply and did not embrace materialism. But maybe he’d be pleased that such a major part of India’s history is being returned to India.

Mallya – often referred to as India’s Richard Branson – is more commonly associated with spending his millions on things like Formula 1 motor racing, but perhaps this latest purchase shows a more spiritual side of his flamboyant personality.

Take a look at our cover interview with Mallya from 2006, and also our web video of the man himself from last year’s Farnborough air show.


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