“Delighted and relieved,” is what the great-grandson of India’s iconic freedom hero Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi said once news came in that a collection of Gandhi memorabilia sold to tycoon Vijay Mallya will come home.

Over the last two weeks, the auction of Gandhi’s personal belongings has created uproar in India, with indignant citizens demanding to know why things came to such a pass.

Indians, who view the items as part of their national heritage, have said government intervention at a much earlier stage would have perhaps prevented the last minute dramatic build-up over the bidding.

Seller James Otis’ last minute change of heart to withdraw the items — Gandhi’s trademark wire-rimmed glasses, leather sandals, a pocket watch and a metal bowl and plate — failed and the auction went ahead as scheduled.

The one thing the controversial auction brought to light is the need for a clear mandate to bring home items of national heritage, spread out all over the world, in possession of collectors or individuals, before it escalates into a full-scale commercial ball game.