Charity Begins at Jodhpur as Indian Biz Leaders Pool In For a Cause
The handicrafts bazaar and high-profile auction are expected to be the biggest draw at the event.
Image Courtesy: Jodhpur One World Retreat
About 250 business leaders and art collectors will get together to raise funds for victims of head injury and brain trauma at a three-day event being organised by Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur's erstwhile royal family from March 8. The handpicked invitees, including Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and wife Nita, will have more than 150 precious works to choose from. The collection, with a reserve price of Rs 50 crore, features art, sculpture, jewellery, furniture and glassworks.
Besides the Ambanis, who hosted a dinner for the invitees in Mumbai last month, there will be Sunil Bharti Mittal, KP Singh, Sunita Reddy and Atul Punj, among others, along with high-profile banker Pramit Jhaveri of Citibank and Sanjay Nayar of investment banking firm KKR.
Among the works on display, in the backdrop of Jodhpur's majestic Mehrangarh Fort, will be an eight-panel Verre Eglomise mirrored and painted metal screen by French artist Etienne Drian.
Sold to the Highest Bidder
The screen, estimated to be worth about Rs 6 crore, was bought by the Maharaja of Indore Yeshwant Rao Holkar II for his music room. Another highlight, a rare painting on an Indian theme from the British master JMW Turner's series, 'Siege of Seringapatnam', is priced at about Rs 3 crore.
Though the event will feature a variety of activities such as a performance by British singer Sting, a handicrafts bazaar and yoga, the high-profile auction is expected to be the main draw. "The idea is to get powerful people with money to come and network with each other and entertain themselves, and contribute to a cause," says Maharaja Gaj Singh, who will also part with a few possessions from his family's private collection.
Works of Renee Lalique, Lorenzo, Husain, Souza and Ram Kumar will also be up for grabs. While some of the items have been donated by the erstwhile royals of Travancore, Kapurthala and Gujarat, and Sumitra Devi Birla, Bangalore-based auction house Bid & Hammer has arranged the rest.
"We expect the art and antique items to go at record price as the guests expected to be at the event are big collectors of art and will be present in person in such a large number for a live auction," says Ankush Dadha, director, Bid & Hammer.
Besides the who's who of Indian industry, there will be the Duke of York, Prince Andrew; French billionaire Patrick Guerrand Hermes; American film-maker Forest Steven Whitaker and British writer Jemima Marcelle Khan.
Maharaja Gaj Singh, who founded the Indian Head Injuries Foundation after his son Shivraj Singh suffered a major head injury in a polo accident in 2005, wants to turn the auction into a biennial event. "It is interesting to see how so many people are coming together to support this initiative," says HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, one of the trustees of the Indian Head Injuries Foundation.
An estimated 1.5 million people suffer from head injuries in India, and one out of every six victims fails to survive.
Source: Economic Times