Mont Blanc Gandhi pen causes criticism in India

This week marked the 140th anniversary of the birth of Indian independence pioneer Mahatma Gandhi.

And to commemorate a man who chose a life of poverty and shunned material goods, Montblanc has created a limited-edition pen with a price tag of $25,000.

Just 241 of the handmade pens will be sold, in reference to the number of miles Gandhi walked in his famous march against salt taxes in 1930.

Crafted in solid white gold, it bears a sketch of Gandhiji on the nib, apart from carrying his signature.

Each piece is accompanied by saffron-coloured ink, a booklet of Bapu’s quotes and an eight-metre long golden thread that, when wound around the pen, resembles the spindle of the spinning wheel.

Montblanc is also offering a cheaper limited-edition pen with Gandhi’s image, which will cost $3,000 to $4,000.

Followers of Gandhi’s legacy expressed surprise over the pen. “Mahatma Gandhi advocated a simple lifestyle,” said Dijo Kappen of the Center for Consumer Education in Kerala:

“He was, of course, a nationalist and, in the nature of the independence movement, the only thing he promoted was Indian-made goods. It is a mockery of the great man and an insult to the nation… to use him as a poster boy.”

Kappen’s group has filed a lawsuit against Montblanc to stop the pen from being sold.

Source: BBC / Consumerist / Financial Times