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Sunday, 29 May 2011

18) Honouring Mahatma Gandhi and remembering the martyrs of Cellular Jail , Port Blair , Andaman & Nicobar Islands

 Honouring Mahatma Gandhi and remembering the martyrs of Cellular Jail , Port Blair , Andaman & Nicobar islands

(This post has crossed 100,000 pageviews on 09.02.2015 & it has crossed 150,000 pageviews on 03.07.2016. Thank you all).

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, is popularly known  across the World as “Mahatma Gandhi”, Mahatma being a fusion of the words “mahan” (meaning – great) and “atma” (meaning – soul). 

He was at the forefront of the  Indian Independence movement  and was a firm believer of achievement of your righteous objectives/goals through non-violence (Ahimsa) and “Satyagrah” (insistence of truth and righteousness).  Applied together, against the “British Raj”, these concepts translated into a resistance against tyranny and injustice and steamrolled into a civil rights movement, which ultimately led to Indian Independence. His thoughts and philosophy are studied in detail, even today, and have been the cornerstone of many civil rights movements, across the world.

I am reminded ,at this juncture, of a saying in Italian, which I had read when I was in College, that went something like this “ Not only is fame denied to men of excellence and vision during their lifetimes, but upon their passing away, compliments and encomiums are heaped upon them by way of recompense/compensation”.

Something like this happened to Mahatma Gandhi. He fell to an assassin’s bullets, shortly after India gained Independence from the British, in January 1948, and could not enjoy the fruits of realizing his life’s mission and playing a guiding role in Independent India. 

By way of remembering his contribution to India’s Independence struggle, a grateful nation, built memorials all over the country, the chief “Samadhi” (Memorial) being at New Delhi, the nation’s capital.

In Pune, a must-see on every guided city tour is the Agha Khan Palace, the property on which Mahatma Gandhi was incarcerated by the British Government for a considerable part of his imprisonment during the freedom struggle. His wife, Kasturba Gandhi’s Samadhi (memorial) is there. The palace now turned into a memorial, exhibits, some of Mahatma Gandhi’s humble belongings which he had used during his lifetime, together with photos and narrations of the times he lived in.

Also , by way of remembering Mahatma Gandhi, the Reserve Bank of India, issued coins in his name for the first time in 1969, celebrating his birth centenary. 

Four coins were issued in that year in the denominations of Rs.10/- , Re.1/- , 50 paise and 20 paise.

About 12 million, limited edition ten rupee coins, were minted for circulation, (consisting of 80% silver and 20% nickel). The weight of this coin was 25 gms approx. and it was a large coin with a diameter of 34 mm weighing 0.386 troy ounces of silver. Coin catalogues may not attribute a large value to this coin which is rated mostly at it’s silver content, but, I have seen, that, on International coin auction websites, possessors of this coin ask for rates of about Rs.1500/-(more realistic starting point of the auction asking price) to a ridiculously high price of Rs. 500,000. Nevertheless, the sentimental value of owning a coin, celebrating, the birth centenary of the Mahatma cannot be undermined at any cost and the silver value pales into insignificance.

I have one of these 10 rupee silver coins, from my mother’s safekeeping, which is now a part of my coin collection, which, I am putting up here for reference. This coin is large, weighing 15 gms, with a diameter of 34 mm .



On the reverse of this circular coin, there is a picture of Mahatma Gandhi looking left. The words Mahatma Gandhi appear in English and Hindi (the official language of India) followed by 1869-1948. The coin was issued in 1969.



On the obverse is the Asoka Lion Capitol Emblem of the Indian Government, with the numeral “10” written below it and the words “Rupees India” written in English and 'Bharat Rupiye' written in Hindi. The coin was issued by the Mumbai mint (Diamond mint mark , below the numeral "10").

The one rupee coin, on the other hand was made of nickel, had a diameter of 28mm and weighed 10 gms. On the reverse, there was a picture of Mahatma Gandhi looking left and the words Mahatma Gandhi mentioned in English and Hindi, followed by 1869-1948.  About 12 million coins were issued under this denomination.

I do not have a specimen of this coin, which is the only one missing from my collection of Mahatma Gandhi coins. Perhaps some “generous soul” might…….

The fifty paise coin was also made of nickel, like the one rupee coin, had a diameter of 24mm and weighed 5 gms. and exhibited the same features as the one rupee coin above.



Reverse of the fifty paise coin on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary issued in 1969 issued at Kolkata mint (No mint mark below the year of issue).


Obverse of the fifty paise coin shown above.


The twenty paise coin, on the other hand had a metal composition of Aluminium-bronze and had the smallest diameter of 22 mm and weighs the least at only 4.5 gms. It exhibits identical features on the Obverse and reverse.





Reverse of the twenty paise coin on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary issued in 1969.




Obverse of the coin as above issued at Mumbai mint. Notice the diamond mint mark, below the numeral "20", is a deviation from  the normal practice of affixing the mint mark below the year of issue.


In 1997, on the occasion of 50 years of India’s independence, the monetary authority, came out with a 50 paise ferrite stainless steel (FSS) coin . 




The reverse of this coin showed Mahatma Gandhi , leading the Dandi March (details given in next paragraph) , a symbolic act which had become the rallying point for the civil disobedience movement, which led to India’s independence.  The words “Swatantrata ka pachaswan varsh “ are mentioned in Hindi and “50th year of Independence” in English. The years 1947-1997 are also mentioned.




The obverse of this coin, shows the Asoka Lion Capital, the words “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth always prevails) under it, the words “Bharat” and “paise “ in Hindi ,on the left hand side and the words “India and Paise” in English, on the right hand side. The numeral “50” is given below the Lion Capital.

The following  Proof coin set was also issued by the Mumbai Mint in the same year:

The reverse of the Proof coin set in the denominations of Rs.50/- & fifty paise minted by the Mumbai Mint in 1997.
The obverse of the above coin set showing the denominations of the coins Rs.50/- & 50 paise. The third coin shows an image of the Mumbai mint. On the upper periphery of this coin is mentioned "Bharat Sarkar Taksal, Mumbai" (in Hindi) meaning "India Government Mint, Mumbai .


In March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led a protest march from his Sabarmati Ashram near the Gujarat town of Ahmedabad to Dandi near the sea coast, to protest against a “Salt Act” passed in 1882 by the British Government, which had given the British full rights on the collection and refining of salt and levying a salt tax on users. Mahatma Gandhi’s march was completed in 24 days , after  walking for about  400 kms. The symbolic act of picking up salt from the sea-coast and refusing to pay the British salt tax levy, led to prisons being filled to over-capacity ,with almost one lac people courting arrest, as a mark of solidarity to the Mahatma’s symbolic act and became a rallying point for the civil disobedience movement. This event is also called the “Salt Satyagrah” ( meaning "insistence for the right to use salt").


In 1980, the Posts & Telegraph Department, took out two stamps on this symbolic act of the Mahatma, one on which he is shown as leading the Dandi March, and the other, in which he is picking up the salt at the sea-coast at Dandi. Although the clerk at the Post Office, offered to stamp these stamps with a date stamp, I did not get them stamped, as I thought, that ,the beauty of these stamps would get marred. I am giving images of these stamps here :




 In 2005, the Reserve Bank of India issued a two-coin set of Commemorative coins one in the 100 Rupees denomination and the other in the five rupee denomination both in Proof and Uncirculated categories commemorating "75 years of Dandi March" by Gandhiji. I have a Proof coin set in my collection, scanned images of which are placed below:


The cover of the two-coin Proof set issued by Mumbai Mint showing Gandhiji marching towards Dandi and also collecting salt from the salt pits/Ocean.


Obverse of the two-coin Proof set of 100 rupees and 5 Rupees. The legend "Bharat Rupiye" is mentioned in Hindi on the left periphery of the coin and "India Rupees" is mentioned on the right periphery of the two coins. The Lion Capitol figures in the centre of both the coins together with the legend "Satyameva Jayate" (Truth always Prevails). The numerals "100" and "5" are on the bottom of each of the two coins indicating the denomination of the two coins.

The specifications of the two coins are:

100 Rupees coin:

Shape: Circular; 
Diameter: 44 mm; 
No.of Serrations:200
Weight: 35 gms; 
Metal Composition: Quaternary Alloy (Silver : 50%, Copper : 40%; Nickel: 5%, Zinc: 5%).

5 Rupees coin : 

Shape: Circular; 
Diameter: 23 mm;
No. of Serrations: 100; 
Weight: 9 gms;
Metal Composition: (Copper:75%; Nickel: 25%)


Reverse of the above set showing Gandhiji on the march towards Dandi with his followers. On the coins is mentioned the legend "Dandi Yatra ke 75 Varsh" in Hindi and "75 Years of Dandi March" in English. The period "1930-2005 is also mentioned below the portrait of Gandhiji and his followers. 

Also, notice the "M" mint mark below the years indicating that this is a Mumbai Mint coin set issue. Interestingly, when Mumbai Mint issues a Proof coin set, it uses the "M" mint mark instead of its usual "Diamond" mint mark placed on other coin issues.

 The back of the two coin Album showing Gandhiji and his followers on the march towards Dandi.

In 2005, the Reserve Bank of India, also, celebrated the Platinum Jubilee (75 years) of the Dandi march, by issuing a five rupee coin issued for general circulation.





The reverse of the coin shows Mahatma Gandhi leading the Dandi March, with the words, “Dandi Yatra Ke  75 Varsh” in Hindi on the left hand side, and “75 years of the Dandi March” on the right hand side. “1930-2005” is mentioned at the base of the coin.




The obverse of the coin shows the Asoka Lion Capital in the centre, with the words “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth always prevails) and the  numeral “5” below it. On the left hand side are the words  “ Bharat” and “Rupiye” and on the right hand side, “India “and “Rupees” are mentioned.
  A one-rupee stamp issued in honour of Mahatma Gandhi which is one of the most commonly used stamps in India.


In 1997, while issuing a 50 paise coin with the image of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March , the Reserve Bank of India, also honoured the martyrs  of the Indian Independence movement, who were jailed in the Cellular Jail of Andaman and Nicobar islands which was a high security prison constructed over a ten year period (1896-1906), entirely by the prisoners. The jail had seven wings with a central watch tower. In all there were 698 cells in these seven wings, in which prisoners were kept in solitary confinement, in cells measuring 4.5 x 2.7 meters. Two wings of this jail were destroyed in the World War II in 1942, and another two were destroyed shortly after Independence. Of the remaining three wings, two have been converted into a hospital ( a symbolic healing touch, for the atrocities heaped upon the prisoners here under British rule), while one is preserved as a memorial.  

 I cannot forget the small concrete cell where Swantrata Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was imprisoned, which I saw during my trip to the Andamans in 1995. I sat inside for a few minutes remembering the sacrifices of all our martyrs. 

Recently, in Pune, during a Heritage walk organised by Virasat, I visited the Veer Savarkar Smarak. This was the first time that I found out that Savarkar was the first Freedom Fighter to have initiated the act of burning "English goods" in Pune & Bal Gangadhar Tilak & other freedom fighters were witnessing & participating as per the mural. For this act the Ferguson College Principal (where Savarkar was studying in Pune) fined Savarkar Rs.10/- & there were lots of protests from Tilak & other stalwarts who deplored the deteriorating quality of FC College teachers.
 A Memorial to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is inscribed in the Ferguson College Boy's hostel, outside the room where he resided while studying in the College from 1902-1905.
 A portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar placed in the Memorial. Shown here is Veer Savarkar's act of forsaking/burning of British made clothes on 07.10.1905 and taking a vow to use Indian-made goods/clothes henceforth. He was fined Rs.10/- by the College authorities, which was a "Princely sum" in those days.

A bust of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar placed in the Memorial.
The Reserve Bank of India issued a one rupee coin in 1997 for remembering these martyrs.  
The reverse of the coin shows two wings with the Central tower and the words “Cellular Jail and Port Blair” both in Hindi and English and the year of issue, 1997.  This coin has been issued by the Mumbai mint (Diamond mint mark, below the year of issue).



 Reverse of the coin issued by Mumbai mint (diamond mint mark below the year of issue 1997).

I visited the Andaman Islands in 1995. I am placing here, a photo taken at the same spot , which is depicted on the reverse side of the coin for a clearer visualization of the image on the coin. (Of course, I do not figure on the coin’s image, so don’t look for me on the coin!!):


 The wing on the left hand side (behind my back on the photo) is the hospital section, while the wing on the right hand side (i.e. in front of me) is the Memorial. Notice, that the white boundary wall of the hospital section has also, been nicely integrated by the master engravers of the Mumbai mint on the reverse of this coin.

 The main gate of the Cellular Jail at Port Blair, now turned into a National Memorial.


Obverse of the 1997 coin as above, showing the Asoka Lion Capital, with the words , "Satyameva Jayate" (Truth always prevails) below it, the words "Bharat Rupiye" on the left hand side and the words "India Rupee" on the right hand side. The numeral "1" is at the bottom of the coin.

Incidentally,  the Posts & Telegraph Department, India, brought out a beautiful 35 paise stamp in 1981, depicting the eternal flame titled "Homage to Martyrs", as a mark of respect to all martyrs. An image of the stamp in my collection is placed here for reference:




Mahatma Gandhi has , also been honoured by the Reserve Bank Of India, by placing his portrait on various currency notes , since the 1980s.  Given below, are images of the obverse and reverse of a 500 rupee note issued in the eighties from the old series:


Notice that Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March for the Salt Satyagrah, features on the reverse of this currency note series.

Mahatma Gandhi's portrait features on every currency note issued under the new series in the 1990s ,which is in circulation, at present:


Obverse of a new series five rupee note issued from 2001 onwards, with the Mahatma's portrait.




Obverse of a new series ten rupee note in circulation since 1996 also showing the Mahatma's portrait.



 Obverse of a new  series Rs.20/- currency note. This design is in circulation since 2001.




Obverse of a new series fifty rupees note ,in circulation since 1997, showing Mahatma Gandhi's portrait, as well.



Obverse of a new series hundred rupee note, introduced in 1996, showing the Mahatma's portrait , as well.



Obverse of a new series, five hundred rupee note, introduced in 1997.



Reverse of the five hundred rupee note , as above, honouring the event of the Dandi March, led by Gandhiji. This image is present on all five hundred rupee currency notes issued today.


Obverse of a one thousand rupees note ,under the new series, in circulation since 2000.

          Sketch of Mahatma Gandhi made for this post by Sumita.

Posted on 07.07.2014:
Today I happened to visit the  Philatelic Bureau at the General Post Office (GPO), Pune. I collected this stamp issued on 12th October 2013, on Indian Philatelic Day, indicating that the popularity of Mahatma Gandhi in India still continues unabated:
The above is an image of the Rupees Twenty stamp Miniature sheet issued on Mahatma Gandhi. The Miniature sheet picture shows two previously issued stamps on the Mahatma, the Mahatma spinning the wheel to make  "khadi cloth" (indigenous cotton cotton thread/cloth) as a means of protest against using British-made foreign goods, an image which ignited the minds of  Indian patriots all over the country to boycott European goods in their fight for India's Independence. The Mahatma's silhouette is in the background of the stamp leading the Dandi March. 

Posted  on 27.06.15:

Visited the Philatelic Bureau at the General Post Office (GPO), Pune again yesterday where I picked up the undernoted miniature stamp sheet titled "100 Years of Mahatma Gandhi's Return":

The above is an image of the Rupees Twenty-five and Rupees Five stamp Miniature sheet issued on Mahatma Gandhi titled "Mahatma Gandhi ki Wapasi ke 100 Varsh" (in Hindi/Devnagri) and "100 Years of Mahatma Gandhi's return" (in English) . The Miniature sheet  depicts on the Rupees five stamp  a document titled " Golden number of Indian Opinion" and "Souvenir of the Passive Resistance Movement of South Africa". A young Gandhi is shown in Western attire.
 The Rupees Twenty Five stamp shows, Gandhi and his wife Kasturba on Indian shores on their return to India from Africa in 1915, in  Indian style dresses . The Miniature sheet also shows the Mahatma spinning the "Charkha" (or the spinning wheel) to make  "Khadi cloth" (indigenous cotton cotton thread/cloth) as a means of protest against using British-made foreign goods, an image which ignited the minds of  Indian patriots all over the country to boycott European goods in their fight for India's Independence. 

 Posted on 26.10.2015:


A set of two stamps issued on the “Charkha” or Spinning Wheel:

A Spinning wheel or “Charkha” is a device for spinning thread or yarn from natural or synthetic fibres. The spinning whee replced the earlier method of hand spinning with a spindle.

During India’s Freedom Struggle, the “Charkha” became a significant symbol of the “Swadeshi” Movement which sought to bring about an economic revolution by discarding machine-made goods produced abroad and replacing them with Indian hand-made cloth. The emphasis on the "Charkha" was aimed both at removing poverty of the people in villages who could supplement their incomes by working at home and at impeding the flow of Indian money to the British Industries/Authorities.

Mahatma Gandhi gave a new meaning and novel interpretation to the "Charkha" which reminded him of “the ever-moving wheel of the Divine Law of Love”. To Mahatma Gandhi, spinning was like penance or sacrament, a medium of spiritual upliftment, a symbol of Dharma, of Self-help and self-reliance, of dignity of labour and human values, besides being an emblem of non-violence.

Gandhi believed that the revival of hand-spinning and hand-weaving would make the largest contribution to the economic and moral regeneration of India.

He used the “Charkha” as a symbol of self-reliance and to send out the message to the British Authorities that India can make its own cloth and did not need to rely on the British empire/ British industry to do it.

He believed that “the spinning wheel represents to me the hope of the masses ….. It was the friend and solace of the widow. It kept the villagers from idleness. For the Charkha included all the anterior and posterior industries – ginning, carding, warping, sizing, dyeing and weaving. These, in turn, kept the village carpenter and blacksmith busy”. He further believed “I believe in the spinning wheel. It has two main aspects – terrible and benign. In its terrible aspect, it is calculated to bring about the only boycott we need for an independent National existence …. In its benign aspect, it gives a new life and hope to the villager”.

Gandhi was very keen to improve the “Charkha” technologically in order to improve its productivity. He announced a competition for designing of a more efficient Charkha which was required to be simple in operation, cheap to manufacture and be able to produce yarn of good quality in greater quantity. While he was lodged in Yerwada Jail and later at the Aga Khan Palace he himself worked on a portable design of the Charkha which could be easily carried anywhere.

This set of two stamps issued by the Department of Posts, India shows two varieties of Charkha – the Traditional one (“Bardoli Charkha”)and the portable one (Peti Charkha):
 A half sheet of 16-stamps of Rs.5/- denomination showing the "Bardoli Charkha".
  A half sheet of 16-stamps of Rs.5/- denomination showing the "Peti Charkha".
 A miniature sheet of the two Rs. 5/- stamps showing Gandhiji with the "Peti Charkha" which he had designed. There is a quotation from him " The call of spinning wheel is the noblest of all because it is the call of love and love is Swaraj" (from the Publication "Young India" dated 13.10.1921)
  An image of a Rs.5/- stamp depicting the “Bardoli Charkha”.
       An image of a Rs.5/- stamp depicting the “Peti Charkha”.
 A First Day Cover (FDC) issued by Pune GPO bearing the cancellation date "15.10.2015" showing the two stamps and Gandhiji at work on a Bardoli Charkha. There is a quote from him "For every minute that I spin, there is in me the consciousness that I am adding the the nation's wealth".
Posted on 12.12.2015:  
The New Zealand Mint, on behalf of Niue Island has brought out a set of five silver coins which depict various aspects of Mahatma Gandhi's life and work. I am giving below the images of the five coins:
 This coin is titled "BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD" on the left to upper periphery and " GANDHI'S ARRIVAL IN INDIA -1915" on the lower to right periphery. The engraving shows a young Mahatma Gandhi in a traditional Indian dress.
 This coin is titled "HATE THE SIN LOVE THE SINNER" on the left to upper periphery and " NON-COOPERATION MOVEMENT, 1920" on the lower to right periphery. The engraving shows  Mahatma Gandhi spinning a traditional Indian Khadi dress.
 This coin is titled "IN A GENTLE WAY, YOU CAN SHAKE THE WORLD" on the left to upper periphery and " GANDHI'S SALT MARCH -1930". The engraving shows Mahatma Gandhi in a Khadi clothes spun by him on a traditional Spinning wheel or "Charkha".
  This coin is titled "THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DO TODAY" on the left to upper periphery and " QUIT INDIA MOVEENT, 1942". The engraving shows three waves of marchers in the Quit India Movement.
  This coin is titled "INDIAN INDEPENDENCE. 1947" on the left to upper periphery and " MY LIFE IS A MESSAGE - MAHATMA GANDHI, 1942". The engraving shows a smiling Mahatma Gandhi in a Khadi clothes spun by him on a traditional Spinning wheel or "Charkha". In the background in the Indian Flag. Below is an image of the Obverse of these coins.
Posted on 08.03.2016:
On 15.08.1948, the first anniversary of India's Independence was commemorated by issuing a Postage Stamp of Mahatma Gandhi in four denominations, thus honouring the Father of the Indian Nation as the first Indian to be placed on a Postage Stamp. The inscriptions on the Stamp, reproduced on this Post Card recently acquired for my collection read "Bapu", "SERVICE", "MAHATMA GANDHI 2 OCT 1869 - 30 JAN 1948". The value of the Stamp is Rs.10/-

 Posted on 16.06.2015:

The above is an image of a full sheet of 100 stamps on Mahatma Gandhi of the value of 25 Paise each issued under the recent 11th Definitive Stamp Series by India Post.

Posted on 03.07.2016:


Classics Forever:
 On the fifth day (01.06.16) at the World Stamp Show New York (NY-2016), held from 28.05.2016 to 04.06.2016, which is a once in a decade Stamp Show,  India Post released another two Special Covers on the theme “Classics Forever”, one of which is the undernoted one on Mahatma Gandhi:

The above is an image of a Special Cover on Mahatma Gandhi depicting four stamps which have been issued at various points of time by India Post. Notice that the background gives the impression that the Special Cover is printed on “Khadi cloth” (an indigenously spun cloth on the Spinning wheel which was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s “favourite instruments” for bringing down the British Raj economy)

(The link to my post on the "World Stamp Show New York 2016", held from 28.05.2016 to 04.06.2016 (the once in a Decade Stamp Show), where many other beautiful Special Covers were released by India Post is as follows: World Stamp Show New York - 2016)

Posted on 19.07.2016:

ii) Commemorative Coins in the denomination of Rs.10/-:

I have yesterday received a Commemorative Uncirculated Rs.10/- Coin from the Hyderabad Mint on the Commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s Return to India from South Africa – 1915-2015.



 The Cover of the Album containing the Commemorative Rs.5/- coin.

The Cover shows an image of Mahatma Gandhi with the colours of the Indian Flag in the background. The inscriptions on the album are “Smarak Sikka” (in Hindi) and “COMMEMORATIVE COIN” (in English) and “Mahatma Gandhi Ki Dakshin Africa Se Wapasi Ka Shatabdi Smaranotsav – 1915-2015” (in Hindi) and “COMMEMORATION OF MAHATMA GANDHI’S RETURN FROM SOUTH AFRICA 1915-2015”.
                     



                             Page 2 of the Coin Album

The text on this page reads, inter alia:

“Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat. He was truthful and honest from his boyhood. He travelled to England to study to become a barrister-at-law. Thereafter, he went to South Africa to start a practice as a lawyer. He spent twenty one years in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. There he found that the Indians and other dark skinned people were the oppressed sections of Society.

In 1894, he formed the Indian Natal congress to fight for the civil rights of the Indian community in South Africa.

Mahatma Gandhi returned to India on 9th January 1915 and took up the leadership of the national freedom struggle through non-violence. He launched many movements to force the British to concede India its independence on 15th august 1947. His famous autobiography, the story of “My experiments with Truth” has seen innumerable editions. He was assassinated by a fanatic on his way to a prayer meeting on January 30th, 1948.

On 8th January 2015, the Government of India released coins commemorating the Centenary year of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa during the “Pravasi Bhartiya Divas” in Gandhinagar”.



Page 3 of the Coin Album shows a profile of Mahatma Gandhi’s face facing left. There is also, an image a young Gandhi on a Rs.5/- stamp issued on completion of 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa. This page also has the Obverse face of the Rs.10/- coin contained in the Coin Album.

The specifications of this coin:

Denomination: Rs.10/-;

OUTER RING (ALUMINIUM BRONZE): Copper-92%, Aluminium – 6%, Nickel – 2%.

CENTRE PIECE (CUPRO-NICKEL): Copper–75%; Nickel: 25%.



                                   Obverse of the Rs.10/- coin
The Obverse of the coin shows the Emblem of the Government of India – the Lion Capitol, together with the inscription “Satyameva Jayate (meaning “Truth Always Prevails”). The country name is given on the left and right peripheries – “Bharat” in Hindi) and “India” (in English). The denomination of the coin “Rs.10” is given at the bottom of this face.
                         



Page 4 of the Coin Album contains the Reverse of the coin, an image of Mahatma Gandhi spinning cotton yarn at the “Charkha” (spinning wheel) and more specifications of this coin:

Dimensions:

Diameter: 27.00 mm; Weight: 7.71 gms.



                                       Reverse of the Rs.10/-
The Reverse of the coin shows two images of “Mahatma Gandhi” – young and old, with the upper peripheral inscriptions “Dakshin Africa Se Wapasi” (in Hindi) and “RETURN FROM SOUTH AFRICA” (in English). The Commemoration period “1916” to “2016” is given on the centre left and right peripheries. On the lower periphery is inscribed “Shatabdi Smaranotsav” (in Hindi) and “CENTENARY COMMEMORATION”.

 The “Star” Mint Mark of the Hyderabad Mint is below the word “Centenary”.



Page 5 of the Coin Album shows an image of the Coin’s Reverse and a photograph of the young Gandhi. Also, seen is an image of the First Day Cover (FDC) issued on the occasion by the Department of Posts, India on the occasion
Posted on 05.08.2016:
The above is an image of a Full Sheet of stamps on Mahatma Gandhi comprising 8x16 stamps (128 stamps) of Re.1/- each from the 10th Definitive Series issued in 2015 by India Post. The Sheet was so big that it did not fit into my scanner, hence this photo-image

Posted on 15.02.2017:
I have yesterday received the undernoted Special Cover from the epostoffice, New Delhi for a premium of Rs.100/-, which has been released on Martyr's day this year i.e. on 30.01.2017:
 The Front of the Special Cover shows on the left a left facing stylised profile of Mahatma Gandhi with his signature "MKGandhi" below it.
Further below is his name "Mahatma Gandhi (in both Hindi and English). The  500 Paise or Rs.5/- stamp showing an image of a "Bardoli Ckarkha" (meaning a "Bardoli Spinning Wheel") was issued in 2015.

The cancellation hand-stamp shows Mahatma Gandhi walking away with the support of his walking stick symbolising that the "Father of the Indian Nation" has departed on 30.01.1948, felled by an Assassin's bullets. The Cancellation  hand-stamp is of New Delhi GPO and is dated "30.01.2017"

 The interesting feature of this Special Cover is that the the background gives the look of a Khadi cloth which Mahatma Gandhi and several Indian patriots who were matryred in the cause of India's Freedom struggle weaved on "Charkhas" and wore throughout their lives, shunning British-made clothes. Not only that, if one runs a finger over the Special cover, one gets the "feel" of the texture of the Khadi cloth.
 The Back of the Special Cover too gives the look and "feel" of a Khadi cloth . The logo of India Post is in the centre.

Posted on 26.05.2017:


Centenary of the Champaran Satyagrah (1917-2017):
About the Champaran Satyagrah:


It was at Champaran that the transformation of Mohandas Gandhi into the “Mahatma” (Great Soul”) began to take place. This is the story of Gandhiji’s first Satyagrah, and the Champaran movement began a new chapter in India’s Independence struggle.

The Story:

After his return from South Africa in 1915, Gandhiji established the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. Then, upon the advice of his mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale, he embarked on a “journey to discover India”. He travelled all over the country from Calcutta (present day Kolkata) and Shantineketan in Bengal to Kanpur and to Rangoon (present day Yangon) in Burma and to the town of Rishikesh.

During the 31st Session of the Indian National Congress (1916) in Lucknow, Gandhiji met Raj Kumar Shukla, a Representative of farmers from Champaran, who requested him to go and see for himself the miseries of the indigo “ryots” (tenant farmers) there.

The farmers were poorly compensated for their indigo crops and if they refused to plant indigo, they had to face heavy taxation. The landlords, mostly British would enforce this system through their agents called “gumasta” who virtually terrorised the farmers.

As a result, the reduced production of the much-needed food crops and exclusive indigo farming (as the farmers were not allowed to grow any other crop even during the off-season) had brought about untold sufferings upon the “ryots”, and a famine-like situation had occurred.

Therefore, the news of Gandhiji’s arrival reached Champaran, it spread like wildfire and he was greeted by a multitude of peasants gathered at Railway Stations all along the way from Muzaffarpur to Motihari.

A day after reaching Motihari, Gandhiji left for the village of Jasaulipatti – he had heard about a tenant there who had been beaten and whose property had been destroyed by the landlords.

On the way to Jasaulipatti, Gandhji was served a notice from the British District Magistrate WB Heycock giving him orders to leave Champaran by the next available train. Gandhiji refused to comply and was arrested by the police.

He was produced before a court on April 18 where the Magistrate proposed a deal stating – “If you leave the district now and promise not to return, the case against you will be withdrawn”. Gandhiji replied” I came here to render humanitarian services to the people of this region. I shall make Champaran my home and not leave till I have helped these suffering people.”

The immediate impact:

With the kind of support Gandhiji was already receiving from the people of Champaran, the British Government, fearing massive unrest, released him. Two days later, the case was withdrawn and Gandhiji was allowed to remain in the district. The Government also instructed its officers to look into the causes of the indigo farmer’s sufferings.

The subsequent steps taken by Gandhiji:

During his stay in Champaran, Gandhiji took up residence at Hazarimal Dharmashala in Bettiah village. He then visited many villages in the region to study the grievances of the peasants. He recorded the statements and testimonies of 8,000 indigo cultivators to understand their issues and the causes underlying them.

Soon realising that ignorance and illiteracy among the farmers had made it easy for the British landlords to exploit and repress them, Gandhiji set up voluntary organisations to improve the economic and educational conditions of the people.

He laid the foundations for three schools in 1917 – the first near Motihari, the second in Bhitiharwa and the third in Madhuban.

To bridge the gap between education and work, he also set up several self-sustaining “Buniyadi” (Foundation) schools where training in spinning, carpentry, farming and weaving were imparted as a part of school education.

The outcome of Gandhiji’s movement:

Realising Gandhiji’s strength and devotion to the cause, the government made him a member of the Enquiry Committee constituted to look into the excesses committed by landlords and planters. In October 1917, the committee submitted its report to the Government and on 20.11.1917, the Champaran Agrarian Bill was submitted in the Bihar Legislative Assembly and was enacted into Law with the formal signature of the Governor General.

After almost a year after Gandhiji’s arrival, the exploitative Tinkhathia system had been finally abolished.

The emergence/significance of Satyagrah as a “potent instrument” for fighting against injustice and exploitation:

There have been peasant movements before and after the Champaran Movement (1917), but what makes Gandhiji’s Champaran Satyagrah significant is the fact that it was the first time that bridges had been built between the peasants and the other sections – especially the middle class intelligentsia. In this sense, the symbolic significance of this Satyagrah was much greater than what actually happened in Champaran.

Three Commemorative Stamps issued by India Post in the denominations of 500, 1000 and 2500 Paise (or Rs.5/-, 10/- and 25/-) on 13.05.2017:



A Miniature sheet of stamps issued on the occasion containing all three stamps - Rs.5/-, Rs.10 and Rs.25/-. It also shows farmers at work with automated machines



The 500 Paise or Rs.5/- stamp issued on the occasion shows an image of a young Gandhi sitting on a chair. It bears one of Gandhiji’s quotes – “It is no exaggeration, but the literal truth, to say that in this meeting with the peasants I was face to face with God, Ahimsa and Truth” (MK Gandhi)



The 1000 Paise or Rs.10/- stamp issued on the occasion shows an image of a young Kasturba Gandhi and an image of a Buniyadi School set up by Gandhiji in which three women are reading and learning from books



The 2500 Paise or Rs.25/- stamp issued on the occasion shows an image of a young Gandhi and farmers at work harvesting their crops, symbolising the enactment of the Champaran Agrarian Bill which let the ryots grow food crops and stopped their exploitation by British landlords

 







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    "Informative article with photographs of coins/currency notes issued by Govt in memory of M. Gandhi and stamps depicting few instances of his movement during freedom struggle. I also liked the sketch of M.Gandhi by Sumita. Your heading of the article includes "the martyrs of Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar islands". But it it is observed that so far Govt has overlooked many of the great 'martyrs' who laid their lives since 1857. Of course, they laid their life to free our country from the clutches of the Britishers without any expectations for being honoured by Govt by any way. During their freedom struggle they were jailed for years together & were captive in Andaman Jail. Except issuing one or two commemorative stamps/coins given in your article, whether any body of them is being remembered these days? I salute them all."
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    Replies

    1. Thank you. I cannot forget the small cell where Veer Savarkar was imprisoned, which I saw during my trip to the Andamans in 1995. I sat inside for a few minutes remembering the sacrifices of all our martyrs. Recently, Pune organised a Heritage week in which one of the walks which I participated in was alongside the Mutha river. The starting point was Veer Savarkar Smarak. We could'nt find it initially & no one was able to guide us there. We found it after a lot of difficulty. This was the first time I saw that Savarkar is depicted as having initiated the act of burning "English goods" in Pune & Bal Gangadhar Tilak & other freedom fighters were witnessing & participating as per the mural. For this act the Ferguson College Principal fined Savarkar Rs.10/- & there were lots of protests from Tilak & other stalwarts who deplored the deteriorating quality of FC college teachers. The memorial is in a dilapidated state, neglected & seemingly under repairs. Similarly, along the Mutha river, the glory of the Peshwas who ruled from "Attock to Cuttack " & built the city of Pune is depicted in tile-work, but the place is kept very shabbily & is neglected by the civic authorities/Government & even most of the locals are not aware of this depiction of their proud heritage. I was somewhat saddened to see all this!

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    2. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
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  8. Delightful post! The icing on the cake is the last photo with the miniature sheet carrying the "stamp in stamp".. wish I had one of these with me.

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    1. Thank you, Rahul. The last miniature sheet is not too old. You could check out at the Philately section in a GPO. They may still be having some Miniature sheets left.

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  11. It's a pride feeling that we have Gandhij photo on notes and coins.

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