L2E USA Today: Montblanc's $25,000 Gandhi pen

Letter to the Editors: Erika Kinetz and Anna Mathews
Original article here

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born today, 140 years ago.

And today, the popular German luxury pen-maker, Montblanc, commemorates his legacy with a handmade fountain pen. The pen comes complete with Gandhi’s signature, a saffron-colored opal, a book of Gandhi quotes, and a 26-foot golden thread. The cost is $25,000. Well,
$24,763 to be exact. The controversy: Gandhi was a minimalist and a nationalist, who only promoted Indian-made goods, and to make him a “brand-ambassador and poster boy” for something he’d never support, is blasphemous to his legacy and to the nation of India.

Associated Press writers Erika Kinetz and Anna Mathews cover the controversy surrounding the $25,000 pen.

Kinetz interviewed Oliver Goessler, Montblanc’s regional director for India, Africa and the Middle East, who says that “Whatever brings Gandhi and his ideas back to mind can only be good.” He also said, “the idea to commemorate Bapu ("Father"), as Gandhi is affectionately known here, in a swish pen was born in India, not Europe. It's not an opulent pen. It's a writing instrument that's very pure.” Goessler also tells Kinetz that on Tuesday, Montblanc chief executive Lutz Bethge handed over a check for $145,666 to Gandhi's great grandson, Tushar Gandhi, for his foundation. The foundation will get an additional 10,000 to 50,000 rupees ($210 to $1,050) for each pen sold.

Gandhi’s great grandson and owner of the foundation says his foundation would use the money to build a school and hostel for rescued child laborers. Tushar further adds that his great grandfather “would have been amused that such a lavish and ostentatious pen was being dedicated to him. He wouldn't have possessed it.”

Well of course he wouldn’t. I mean picture a thin Gandhi wrapped in white sackcloth, with a $25,000 pen worth more than his entire ensemble and possibly all that he owned. Interesting.

Read the article here

Gandhi in a nutshell:

  • October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948
  • Assassinated by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse (who was executed in 1949)
  • Principles: Truth, Nonviolence, Vegetarianism, Bramacharya (celibacy and purity of mind and body), Simplicity and Faith.
  • Considered a minimalist, pacifist, nationalist, and self-described philosophical anarchist
  • Most controversial issue: Possible racist. In 1908 he wrote on South African prisons and made what were considered to be extremely "racist remarks."
  • Claimed that nothing in society should be done without the consent of everyone, down to the individual.


"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians."

Later in his life when he was asked whether he was a Hindu, he replied:"Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew."

Gandhi summarized his beliefs first when he said "God is Truth". He would later change this statement to "Truth is God".
Read more about Gandhi on Wikipedia

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