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Last Updated : Aug 03, 2020 02:54 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

UK working on proposal to mint new coin commemorating Mahatma Gandhi: Report

The Indian High Commission in UK has welcomed the proposal.

Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

The Royal Mint plans to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi as the first ethnic minority face to feature on the British currency, The Economic Times reported.

"We are working with the Chancellor (Rishi Sunak) and the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) to develop a proposal...It is too early to reveal further specific details about the coin as we are still in the initial stages of discussions," the article quotes a spokesperson for The Royal Mint as saying.

"The Chancellor is keen that our coinage commemorates the work of the many previous generations who have served this nation and those nations that form the Commonwealth," a source inside Her Majesty’s Treasury told the paper, confirming that Mahatma Gandhi would be the face of the coin.

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Sunak, who is the Finance Minister and the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, had written to The Royal Mint on August 1, urging it to celebrate the achievements of those from the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) community on the United Kingdom's (UK) coinage.

While Sunak had not specifically mentioned Mahatma Gandhi, according to the report, some Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) have criticised the decision, arguing that a figure intrinsically connected to British politics and society would have been more appropriate.

"I thought the demand was for an outstanding British person of colour to be on our currency, not an Indian nationalist hero. The person who qualifies more than any other is Cornelia Sorabji. To select Gandhi instead is a cop out," London-based historian Zareer Masani, who is the author of a biography on former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, said.

Lord Meghnad Desai, Chairman of the Gandhi Memorial Statue Trust, told the newspaper that according to him, Dadabhai Naoroji would have been the better choice since he was "more connected with British political life, being the first Indian to enter British Parliament."

"We already have a statue of Gandhi. There are lots of women not acknowledged like suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh. This is not Rishi Sunak's campaign, it has to be a community campaign," Labour MP Preet Gill said.

The Indian High Commission in UK, however, has welcomed the proposal.

"Gandhi has been a symbol of equality and humanity for the whole world. His message of non-violence is more relevant today than ever," an official told the newspaper.

The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) in the UK termed it as a 'proud moment' and its spokesperson, Sudhakar Goud, said that Gandhi fought for 'justice and freedom' and so he is 'ideal for this'.
First Published on Aug 3, 2020 02:54 pm
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