Sunday, October 04, 2009

Luxury Pen to Commemorate Gandhi’s Birthday is Not Write

Montblanc, the Swiss luxury pen maker has issued a $23,000 pen to commemorate the birth of Mahatma Gandhi (October 2, 1869).

The limited-edition pen, priced at Rs1.1m ($23,000, €15,800, £14,400), has an 18-carat solid gold, rhodium-plated nib, engraved with Gandhi’s image, and ‘a saffron-coloured mandarin garnet’ on the clip.

Dilip R. Doshi, chairman of Entrack, Montblanc’s distributor in India, said “We are creating a thing of simplicity and beauty that will last for centuries.”

How inappropriate can you get? The pen may have been his most powerful tool but an expensive and exclusive writing instrument is not in keeping with the Indian leader who lived a life of poverty and simplicity in the cause of ordinary people.

What next? Giant soft drink cups issued by McDonalds adorned with Gandhi’s portrait? Commemorative Gandhi guns that come with a round of bullets engraved with his initials?

It is astonishing how we celebrate the birth and death of great people in ways that fly in the face of the values they embodied.

Gandhi Used to Sell 11-Lakh Pen, NDTV, 30 September 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: The pen with a close up of the 18 carat nib to commemorate a man who lived each day on rice and carrots.