Search This Blog

Saturday, 27 July 2013

110) Motilal Nehru (06.05.1861 – 06.02.1931): the Nehru-Gandhi Family Patriarch: A five rupee coin issued by Govt.of India/Reserve Bank of India to commemorate his 150th Birth Anniversary:

110) Motilal Nehru (06.05.1861 – 06.02.1931): the Nehru-Gandhi Family Patriarch:

A five rupee coin issued by Govt.of India/Reserve Bank of India to commemorate his 150th Birth Anniversary:

Motilal Nehru was a prominent lawyer and activist in the Indian Freedom struggle.

He was the patriarch of India’s Nehru-Gandhi family who have contributed several Prime Ministers in India’s post Independence history.

His education:

He spent his childhood in Khetri, in the then princely State of Jaipur (presently the capital of the State of Rajasthan) where his brother served as the “Diwan” or Chief Minister and had his early schooling there.

Later, in 1870, Motilal moved to Agra with his brother when the latter began practicing English law at Agra.

Still later, when the High Court shifted to Allahabad, the family took up residence at Allahabad and subsequently settled there.

Motilal passed his Matriculation examination from Cawnpore (present day Kanpur – in the State of Uttar Pradesh) and thereafter attended Muir Central College at Allahabad where he failed to appear in B.A. Final year exams.

In 1883, he attended the University of Cambridge completing the “Bar – at – Law” course and started practicing as a lawyer at Cawnpore.

In 1886, he joined his brother in his practice at the Allahabad High Court. He was a successful advocate with a reasonably good reputation.

In 1909, he got an approval to appear in the Privy Council of Britain.

His Political and Journalistic Career:

He was the President of the Indian National Congress on two occasions: 1919 (Amritsar session of the INC) and then again from 1928 (Calcutta session of the INC).

In 1922, he later joined the Swaraj Party which was following a strategy to gain membership of the British sponsored councils for the purpose of obtaining full Dominion status for India.

In 1923, he got elected to the Central Legislative Assembly of British India, set up at New Delhi and became the leader of the Opposition.

In 1926, he campaigned for creation of a representative conference to draft a constitution for conferring full “Dominion status” on India. He belonged to the school of thought which advocated full Dominion status as opposed to full Independence. This demand was rejected which led him to quit the Assembly and rejoin the Congress which all along had advocated total Independence for India. (Thus, the wheel had turned a full Circle for Motilal).

Nevertheless, in 1928, he chaired the “Nehru Commission” to counter the findings of the all-British “Simon Commission”. The Report submitted by the Nehru Commission proposed a constitution prepared by it and for conferring a dominion status to India. He prevailed upon the INC to endorse his Report, but the Report was rejected by almost all Nationalist leaders, as well as the Muslims who felt that their interests were not adequately represented.

In 1929, he handed over the position of President of the Indian National Congress to his son Jawaharlal who had all along opposed his father Motilal in his quest for seeking Dominion status for India and had stayed on in the INC when Motilal had left to join the Swaraj Party.

He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of a leading daily newspaper “The Leader”.

Motilal found the Leader newspaper too liberal and articulate, as such he started a moderate newspaper “The Independent” which he started publishing from Allahabad to counter the views of “The Leader”.

Death and Legacy:
He joined the Indian National Congress leaders in excluding western clothes and material goods and dressed up in Indian style clothes.

He lent support to Non-Cooperation Movement.

He was arrested and released during Mahatma Gandhi’s “Salt Satyagrah” in 1931, (after the INC declared complete Independence as its ultimate goal) on grounds of failing health. He passed away on 06.02.1931.

Several educational institutions have been named in his memory viz. Motilal Nehru Medical College and Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, both at Allahabad and Motilal Nehru College at Delhi.

His biographies include: “Pandit Motilal Nehru: His life and Work”, “Motilal Nehru (Builders of Modern India)” and “Pandit Motilal Nehru, a great Patriot” etc.

Other works on him include: “The Voice of Freedom: selected speeches of Pandit Motilal Nehru”, “Motilal Nehru: Essays and reflections on his times” and Selected Works of Motilal Nehru (6 volumes)”.

Controversy regarding Motilal Nehru’s ancestry:

There is some controversy regarding the ancestry of Motilal Nehru’s family. Some schools of thought believe that his father was the last “Kotwal” (equivalent of Governor/Administrator) of Delhi under the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, going by the name of Ghiyasuddin Ghasi who escaped British persecution after the First War of Indian Independence in 1857 by fleeing Delhi to Agra under the assumed name of Gangadhar and later moving to Allahabad taking shelter with a Muslim family residing in a building named “Irshad Manzil” which Motilal Nehru subsequently bought in 1900 from its Muslim owners and renamed it “Anand Bhavan”.
Motilal married a Kashmiri Brahmin and is said to have adopted the surname Nehru sometime in between.

His frequent visits to England and European countries was contrary to the beliefs of the Kashmiri Brahmin community to which he professed to belong, as it was the Kashmiri Brahmin Community’s belief that one lost his caste after crossing the Seas/Oceans. He was ordered by the Kashmiri Brahmin community to perform “Prayashchit” (Reformation ceremony), which he steadfastly refused. As such, he was said to have been excommunicated/ostracised by the Community.

(Be that as it may, there is no escaping the fact, that India’s Independence in 1947, only led to replacing the British Monarchy as the Rulers of India with the Nehru-Gandhi “dynasty”, with the latest member Rahul being quoted by the Indian Media as the “heir apparent”!!).

Commemorative Coin:
The Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the Government of India has issued a five rupee coin in June 2013 to commemorate the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Motilal Nehru for general circulation. The specifications of the coin are:

Shape: Circular; Diameter: 23 mm; Number of Serrations: 100; Metal Composition: Nickel Brass (Copper – 75%; Zinc – 20%; Nickel – 5%).

Reverse of the five rupee coin issued on the occasion.  The coin shows a portrait of Motilal Nehru in the centre. Along the periphery of this face of the coin is the inscription “Motilal Nehru ki 150vi Jayanti” (in Hindi/ Devnagri) on the upper periphery and “150th Birth Anniversary of Motilal Nehru” (in English) on the lower periphery. At the bottom, below his portrait are mentioned the year “2012” indicating the year in which the 150th Anniversary was celebrated. (Perhaps 2011 would have been the correct year on this coin as his birth was on 06.05.1861 – Possibly, the year 2012 marks the end of the centenary year).

Notice that on the reverse of this coin the “Diamond” mint mark of the Mumbai Mint has been engraved on the bottom periphery.

Obverse of the five Rupee coin. This face shows the Lion Capital in the centre with the legend “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth will Prevail/triumph). On the left periphery/flank is the word “Bharat”, in Hindi/Devnagri script and on the right hand periphery/flank is mentioned “India”, in English. On the bottom half of the coin is mentioned the denominational value of the coin with the numeral “5”, preceded by the rupee symbol.

 The above coin-set image has been sent to me by Dr.P.V.Satyaprasad, an eminent numismatist based in Vishakhapatnam.

This set of coins on the Nehru-Gandhi family include:
Motilal Nehru : 5 rupees (facing left)
Jawaharlal Nehru( his son): 5 Rupees (facing right)
-    DO      -  : 50 paise (name in English)-(facing left)
                   : 50 paise  (name in Hindi)- (facing right)
                   : 1 rupee (with cap) (facing right)
                   : 1 rupee (without cap) (facing left)
Indira Gandhi (his granddaughter):5 rupees (facing right)
-  DO   -       : 50 paise (facing right)
Rajiv Gandhi : (his great-grandson) 1 rupee (facing left).

Jawaharlal is the only personality who has Indian coins minted on him with his profile facing left as well as right.
Also, notice that in the manner of the British monarchs who after the restoration of the monarchy when Charles II took over from Oliver Cromwell, each succeeding British monarch faces in the opposite direction as a matter of tradition (with a few aberrations/exceptions), similarly, while the Nehru-Gandhi family patriarch Motilal faces left, his son Jawaharlal faces left in the earlier coins issued upon his passing away as well as right in later coins, while his granddaughter Indira faces right on coins issued shortly after her assassination and his great grandson Rajiv faces left !!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

109) Celebrating the Birth of a Royal baby to Prince William and his wife Katherine in Britain with a gift of silver pennies and issue of a five-pound silver commemorative coin by the Royal Mint U.K.

109) Celebrating the Birth of a Royal baby to Prince William and his wife Katherine in Britain with a gift of silver pennies and issue of a five-pound silver commemorative coin by the Royal Mint U.K.

Prince William and his wife Katherine or Kate have been blessed with a baby boy on Monday the 22nd of July 2013. The birth of this child who is third in the line of succession of the British monarchy, was a much sought after event with millions of people across the World following every titbit of news about the Baby’s birth as it trickled out.

Ten interesting traditions which were/are followed at the birth of a Royal Baby in U.K.:

1)   Home Birthing: Traditionally a Royal Baby was born at home. Queen Elizabeth II was born at 17 Bruton Street in London, a private family home, and her sons Charles, Andrew and Edward were born in Buckingham Palace. Her daughter Anne was born at Clarence House, also, a Royal property.

Change from tradition:

This tradition, however changed in the 1980s when Princes William and Harry were both born at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Central London. William and Kate’s first child has been born in the same wing.

2)   Home Schooling:

The British Royals are privately educated. The Queen received her education at home from her father, tutors and governesses.

Charles was the first Royal heir to have gone to school.

Change from tradition:

William and Kate were both educated at independent schools and it is expected that their son would be educated like-wise.

3)   Fathers in the Delivery Room:

When Charles was born to Queen Elizabeth, his father Prince Philip was off playing squash in the Buckingham Palace – perhaps out of nervousness. He stayed away from the delivery room, as per tradition followed by the Royals.

Change in tradition:

Charles changed this by staying besides Diana at William’s birth. William has now done likewise by being present with Kate.

4)  Official Intruders:

Custom dictated that Government officials be present when a Royal was born. When Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926, the Home Secretary was present among the attending doctors. The official(s) were required to attend as witnesses for ensuring that it was really a Royal Birth and the baby had not been “smuggled in”. This custom gained currency because of the so-called “warming pan plot” of 1688, when it was believed that the supposed child “James II” had been smuggled into the delivery room in a long-handled bed warming pan, particularly as 40-60 persons had dropped into the Royal Chambers to witness the Royal Birth.

Change from Tradition:

George VI abolished this practice during his reign, as such no officials were required to be present when Kate delivered her baby.

5)  Naming the Royal Baby:

Most Royals have three to four first names, usually in combination that honours previous monarchs or relatives. The Queen’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, taken after mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and William’s full name is William Arthur Philip Louis.

It seems that all over U.K. the odds were on James or George for the new-born Royal Baby.
Change from Tradition:
The baby has been named George Alexander Louis on 24th July 2013 itself by his proud parents. If he takes over the monarchy at a future date, he will be known as George VII. 

6)  The Last Name:

The Royals do not require a surname. The correct title when referring to the new Prince would be His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Current members of the Royal household may use Mountbatten – Winsor, the surname adopted in 1960 for all of the Queen’s children. (This name combines Windsor, the family name adopted by King George in 1917 and Prince Philip’s family name Mountbatten). Prince William is known as the Prince of Wales and Flight Lt.Wales when he is on military duty. William has served as a search and rescue pilot at an air-base in a remote island off the coast of Wales.

7)  Christening:

Royal babies are officially christened several days, sometimes months after they are born at a few identified places.

For example, Queen Elizabeth II was christened in a private chapel at Buckingham Palace while Charles and William were christened in the palace’s Music Room.

8)  Traditional announcement on an  easel or Internet:

The traditional way to announce a Royal’s birth is to send a messenger by transport from the place of Birth to Buckingham palace carrying a piece of paper detailing the infant’ gender, weight and time of birth. The bulletin is then placed on a wooden easel on the palace’s forecourt for public information.


William and Kate’s baby was announced in both the traditional and modern ways:

Queen Elizabeth II, senior Royals and Chtherine’s parents were the first to be informed of the news.

A proclamation signed by royal doctors was displayed on an easel at Buckingham Palace. At the same time, it was announced by a press release and over the Internet on the monarchy’s Twitter and Facebook feeds for millions of followers to see.

9)   Nannies for Royal Babies:

Nannies are employed to bring up Royal babies. William and Kate have yet to announce their plans for their son.

10)  Gun Salute:

A 62-gun salute from the Tower of London and a 41 – gun salute from Green Park, near Buckingham Palace were carried out to welcome the baby into the World, as is the tradition when a Royal is born. Also, the Union Jack flag was flown from Government buildings across Britain.

Other tidbits:

-      The Royal baby will be given the official title of “His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales”.

-      He is the third in line to succeed his great grandmother Queen Elizabeth after Charles and William on the British throne.  

-      He is expected to become the Head of State of 16 countries, including Australia, Britain and Canada and head the Commonwealth which includes 54 nations.

-      He will also become supreme governor of the Church of England.

-      He represents a living link to Britain’s Imperial history, being the great-great great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, who reigned at the peak of the British Empire.

-      Geneologists  have linked the baby as a distant relative of Count Dracula. They have also traced his family tree to an Islamic sultan who is believed to have descended from Prophet Mohammed.

Royal Mint U.K.’s commemoration of the Royal Birth with the gift of 2013 silver Pennies :

The Royal Mint announced in the first week of July 2013, that it will present a total of 2013 babies born United Kingdom on the date of birth of the Royal child, a silver penny on the occasion of their own Birth, as a memento.

These silver pennies have been specifically struck for this occasion, in keeping with an age-old tradition to mark a new birth with a gift of silver for good luck. After the birth of the Royal baby, these silver pennies struck with the year of their birth are being given to the lucky babies born on this day.

The silver penny comes in a beautiful pink pouch (for baby girls) and blue pouch (for baby boys)  and is marked with the year 2013 to commemorate the baby’s year of birth which is a gift to be cherished forever. Because of the silver on this penny it is also being sought after as a christening gift.

On the reverse, the traditional design of Matthew Dent shows shield of the Royal Arms, which is divided into four parts, England being represented by three Lions passant guardant in the first and fourth quarters, Scotland being represented by the Scottish Lion Rampant in the second quarter, the harp of Ireland in the third quarter.
On the obverse is the familiar portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right.

An Age old tradition of gifting silver:

Silver gifts are usually given to mark the arrival of a new-born baby, as a keepsake. Throughout history, “crossing the palm” of a new-born baby with silver ornaments, spoons, toys or offering them a silver coin was also taken to be a manner of wishing the new born child  with wealth and good health throughout their life. The silver penny has long been a symbol of good luck and prosperity

The official commemorative coin of the Royal Birth: Issue of a five pound Crown size silver coin with the traditional gold sovereign image of St. George slaying the Dragon:

The Royal Mint has issued a five pound crown sized coin for the first time in over 100 years to commemorate the birth of the Royal Baby. 
On the reverse, the coin features Benedetto Pistrucci’s almost 200 years old world famous design of St.George slaying the dragon which has figured on the gold Sovereign so far. (Apart from the Royal Mint U.K., the gold Sovereign was minted in several identified mints across the World during the height of British Power, including, the then Bombay Mint in 1918 and MMTC-PAMP in India have in 2013  got a franchise from the Royal Mint, U.K. to mint these gold sovereigns in India).

For the first time since the coronation of Edward VII, this design has been struck in silver as a tribute to the future monarch. The coin will have a limited mintage of about 10000 pieces.
Given below are the reverse and obverse images of a gold plated commemorative medallion  issued  by the London Mint Office in 2011 on the occasion of William and Kate's wedding.

 This medallion is from the collection of Dennis Ksing.

A miniature sheet of commemorative one pound stamps issued on behalf of the Isle of Man that says it all!!


British Crown Dependencies:

1) Specimen Banknotes from the States of Jersey

2) Coinage and Currency from the States of Jersey

3) Currency & Coinage of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

4) Currency & Coinage of Gibraltar : An Overseas Territory of Great Britain

5) Coinage of Gibraltar: (A British Overseas Territory): An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by the Tower Mint, UK in 2010
6) The Isle of Man: An Uncirculated Decimal Coin Collection Set minted by Pobjoy Mint, UK in 2015

7) The Centenary of the ill-fated Titanic (15.04.1912 - 15.04.2012): An Alderney Five Pound Coin Commemorating the Maritime Legend

8) "Man of Steel": A Superman Movie: A set of stamps brought out in 2013 by Jersey post, the States of Jersey, commemorating Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill who played Superman in the Movie

9) Coins & Currency of Bermuda

10) The Bailiwick of Jersey - Presently circulating coinage - Pounds and Pence 
Famous Battles

1) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to St. Helena: (Part I): A One Crown Commemorative coin issued by the Ascension Island (minted by Pobjoy Mint UK) 

2) Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Exile to st. Helena: (Part II) 1) A 5 GBP Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK. 2) A"Drie Landen Zilverset" ( ot the "Three Lands Silver set") containing coins issued by the Royal Dutch Mint including coins of Netherlands, Belgium and UK

3) Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain by issuing a 50 Pence coin by the Royal Mint UK

Gold Coins:
1) Gold Sovereigns issued in 2013 & 2014 by MMTC-PAMP in India under licence from the Royal Mint, UK, carrying the "I" Mint Mark

2) Gold Half-Sovereigns minted by MMTC-PAMP in India in 2014 under licence from the Royal Mint UK bearing the "I" Mint Mark 

Silver Coins:

1) A 20 Pound Silver coin minted for the first timr by the royal Mint UK: reverse design carries the famous St. George slaying the dragon design found on Gold Sovereigns 

British India Coinage:

 1) East India Company Quarter Anna Copper Coin which is one of the first issues under the Coinage Act 1835

2) Victoria Coinage: When she was Queen and afterwards Empress

3) Edward VII: King & Emperor  Coinage

4) George V King Emperor Coinage

5) George VI: The last of the British India Emperors Coinage 

Other British Royalty: 

1) Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations (1952-2012): A Five Pound Commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK

2) Commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953: A Five Pound Coin minted by the Royal Mint UK in 2013, depicting the Imperial State Crown

3) The Royal Coat of Arms of the UK: Great British 2012 Coin Set (Uncirculated) issued by the Royal Mint UK

4) Prince George's Christening Ceremony celebrated with coins issued by the Royal Mint UK in 2013

5) The British Empire:  A Case of Numismatic "segregation": (Guest Post by Rahul Kumar)

6) 1) The Portrait Collection: Various Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Coinage 2) The Fourth & Final Circulating coinage of the Portrait designed by Ian Rank-Broadley and the First Edition of the portrait of the Queen made by Jody Clark

 British Coinage:

1) The contribution of the Great British One-Pound coins in keeping alive the historical legends/emblems/heritage of the UK (1983 onwards)

2) Transformation of a Five shilling Coin (Crown) into the UK Twenty-five Pence & then the Five Pound Coin

3) Transformation of the Two Shilling Coin (Florin) Coin into the UK Ten Pence

4) The 350th Anniversary of the Guinea: A Two Pound Coin issued by the Royal Mint UK celebrating the milestone

 Commemorative British Coinage:

 1) Commemorating the Bicentenary of Charles Dickens: A Two pound coin celebrating his literary contributions during the Victorian Era

 2) Commemorating 50 Years of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - presently called the World Wide Fund for Nature by issue of a Fifty Pence coin by the Royal Mint, UK

3) Coins commemorating London Olympics & Paralympics (2012)

4) Commemorating 150 Years of the London Underground : Two pound Coins minted by the Royal Mint UK, showing the "Roundel" logo and a train emerging from a tunnel 

5) Commemorating the 100th Birth anniversary of Christopher Ironside with his" Royal Arms" design on a 50 Pence coin issued by the Royal Mint, UK 

6) 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta - the Universal Guidepost to Liberty and Freedom

Inspirations from Scottish History: 

1) The Legend of King Bruce & the Spider on Banknotes