The Indian government Wednesday launched a last-ditch attempt to block the sale of Mahatma Gandhi’s wire-rimmed spectacles and other iconic personal effects linked to the freedom fighter, who famously eschewed material possessions.

In Delhi, the High Court issued an injunction outlawing the planned auction of memorabilia that also includes the Mahatma’s Zenith pocket watch and a pair of sandals. It acted in the wake of a storm of protest in India over the sale of what many regard as sacrosanct pieces of national heritage.

In New York, where the auction is expected to take place Thursday, Indian diplomats met with Antiquorum Auctioneers and demanded the lots be withdrawn, officials said.

India has already contacted James Otis, the California-based collector to whom the objects belong. He is believed to have rejected a cash offer from the country, which wants to take the Gandhi ephemera back to the subcontinent and place it on public display.

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