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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

147) Commemorating The 150th Anniversary of First War of Indian Independence – 1857: Commemorative Coins issued by the Reserve Bank of India in 2007:

147) Commemorating The 150th Anniversary of First War of Indian Independence – 1857:

Commemorative Coins issued by the Reserve Bank of India in 2007:

In India, the term “First War of Independence” for the War of 1857 to overthrow British East India Company Rule in India was first coined/popularised by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, in his book published in 1909 titled “The History of the War of Indian Independence” originally written in Marathi.

The British presence in India:

The British arrived in India in the 17th century. By the 1700s, the British East India Company (BEIC) had established a considerable presence in India and their victories in the battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764), the Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805-1818) had led to the consolidation of their position in India.

The British were quick learners and they realised that the French were able to defeat the British forces and overrun Fort St. George, Madras (present day, Chennai) in the early days because they had local Indian troops in their ranks commanded by French officers who were much better and valiant fighters than the Europeans.

 From then onwards, the British during their entire rule in India followed this policy of recruiting “sipahis” or “sepoys” or Indian soldiers from the local Indian communities in Regiments headed by British commanding officers. Indian soldiers were deployed across British frontlines both during World War I & World War II to great effect as well as in local Indian conflicts.

Further, the forces were divided into three Presidency armies – Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. The Bengal Army comprised of Indian “Sipahis” from the higher castes, the Madras and Bombay Armies were recruited from local communities and were mostly caste-neutral.

Every effort was made to keep the three Armies under different traditions/customs and commands so as not to let the Indian soldiers of the different Presidency Armies interact much with one another.

The domination of higher castes in the Bengal Army was one of the principal reasons which led to the 1857 I War of Indian Independence, while the caste neutral Bombay and Madras Presidency armies more or less remained loyal to the BEIC and “saved the day” for them. The BEIC Armies in 1857, in the Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras, consisted of about 300000 Indian “Sipahis” and about 50000 European soldiers and 5500 European officers.

The recruitment of local Indian soldiers fiercely committed to their employers in battle, largely insulated the British/European personnel to a very large extent. It was only after World War II in 1945, when the British Indian courts were trying the officers and men of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army for offences of treason against the British Raj and there was wide-spread resentment among the Indian citizenry against this action (although no action was taken against Netaji’s men for fear of a general uprising in an already resurgent India). The British realised that they could no longer rely on the unqualified allegiance of the Indian “Sipahis” in their forces. This also proved to be an important factor in the British granting Independence to India in 1947, ninety years after the First War of Indian Independence fought in 1857.

Several other factors contributed to the I War of Indian Independence:

a)   The Doctrine of Lapse allowed the BEIC to annex the principality of any Indian ruler who died without natural heirs or one who was manifestly incompetent. Jaitpur, Sambalpur, Nagpur, Jhansi, Satara, Awadh (Oudh) etc. were annexed in this fashion. The BEIC soldiers in the Bengal Army came mostly from Awadh and they disapproved of their homes being taken over by the BEIC in this manner. In Awadh, the Nawab’s capital was occupied by the Chief Commissioner and the Nawab’s officials were dismissed and his army of some 60000 soldiers was disbanded. In addition, the annexation of Awadh by the BEIC in 1856 deprived many “Sipahis” of benefits usually afforded to landed gentry.

b)   In fact, the BEIC had stated that upon the death of the last Mughal Emperor, his successor was to give up his ancestral palace and were keen to do away with the Indian Princely states. The annexation of an Indian State not only deposed the King but also resulted in the unemployment of hundreds of his officials.

c)   Governor General Dalhousie introduced several reforms towards modernisation and Europeanization of India, including building roads, Public Works department, irrigation canals, tea plantations etc. The short term investment costs put more strain on the taxation system, leading to resentment against the BEIC and bringing the socio-economic fabric in India to a breaking point.

d)   Unrest among the Indian “Sipahis” in the ranks of the BEIC Armies on account of the following factors:

i)              The “Sipahis” were uncomfortable with the presence of Christian missionaries and the BEIC was masterminding mass conversions of Hindu and Muslim soldiers to Christianity. Not only this, the BEIC officials were making overt attempts to expose their soldiers to Christian teachings. In fact some officers and Christian missionaries were said to have been overheard discussing as to how to convert the whole of India to Christianity.

ii)           The new BEIC officers were not as committed as the earlier officers who learnt local languages and went through the rigours of training and dangers in battle as the Indian troops, earning their admiration. The eighteenth century British officers had a communication problem as they were not as conversant with the local languages leading to a breakdown in communications with the troops who felt that their European officers were treating them with disdain. As these officers were more interested in making a fortune, they also lacked the leadership skills of their predecessor British officers. Officers were relying on their Indian NCOs to communicate to the Indian “Sipahis” leading to wide-spread resentment.

iii)           The General Service Act denied retired “Sipahis” a pension, particularly to the new recruits. It was suspected that this would also apply to those already in service. In addition, the Bengal Army “Sipahis” were paid less than the Madras and Bombay Armies.

iv)           Expeditions in Burma & the Middle East etc. required Indian soldiers to travel over water and in the case of Brahmins soldiers this meant loss of caste for them and ostracisation from their Society.

v)            The changes in the terms of service of the “Sipahis” which expected them to serve in less familiar regions like Burma without drawing “foreign service” remuneration was met with resentment.

vi)          Technological changes including steam ships and steam engines brought as many fears as benefits to Indians in the 1850s.

vii)         The infamous Enfield Paper cartridge combined religious sensibilities with technological changes  So far, the BEIC had relied on a simple but inaccurate bore musket. A decision was taken to introduce a more accurate muzzle loading Enfield Rifled Musket. One way to speed up the loading process was the introduction of a paper cartridge with the bullet sitting on the exact quantity of powder needed.

The loader was required to bite open this paper cartridge to expose the powder. The original cartridges were made in Britain and were covered with tallow made from beef and pork fat to help protect the cartridge from the elements.  The Hindu & Muslim soldiers were horrified to observe that they were required to bite the paper on these cartridges as it militated against their religious sentiments. Many assumed that this was a deliberate attempt by the Europeans to impose their own religion on them. Some even refused to touch the cartridges when they were allowed by the officers to tear them open instead of biting them. Different commanders dealt with the refusal to do so differently, some with tact others with a sense of mutiny. 

The initiation of the First War of Indian Independence:

The first sign of resistance came from Mangal Pandey who on 29.03.1857 at Barrackpore, killed a British Sergeant major and a Lieutenant and called upon his comrades to join him in killing the British officers so as to save their religion but on their seeming hesitation to join him, he shot himself when confronted by a British General.

The British General ordered the Indian commander of the Quarter Guard Jemadar Ishwari Prasad to arrest Mangal Pandey, but he refused. Thereafter, the other “sipahis” in the quarter guard drew back from restraining or arresting Mangal Pandey, except for a soldier named Shaikh Paltu.   Mangal Pandey survived the suicide attempt and was court-martialled and hanged  on 08.04.1857.  His name became a rallying cry for the Indian freedom fighters.

 It is a little known fact, that, Jemadar Ishwari Prasad who refused to arrest Mangal Pandey too was court-martialled and hanged on 22.04.1857.

The regiment was disbanded and stripped of their uniforms, which incited other Indian troops in other Bengal Army regiments as being a very harsh punishment.

The Mangal Pandey episode made the British officers wary of insubordination creeping into the Indian troops. Some Indian troop formations were disbanded. In Meerut, 85 Indian “Sipahis” who refused to accept the new cartridge were court-martialled and imprisoned with hard labour. The welling up of resentment due to all these reasons led to the sparking of action against British establishments at Meerut, followed by several other military and civilian actions across the Gangetic plain and Central India.

On 10.05.1857, varying rumours including disbanding of the other Indian formations at Meerut, led to the “Sipahis” turning against and killing their British officers in Meerut.

Though there were as many British troops as Indian troops in Meerut, the suddenness of the attack caught the British troops by surprise.

The Sipahis freed the 85 imprisoned men and marched to Delhi where they were welcomed by Bahadur Shah Zafar’s retainers as liberators.

Several detachments from the three Bengal Native Infantry Regiments stationed in Delhi kept joining the ranks of the freedom fighters, but those remaining behind also refused to participate in any action against the freedom fighters.

As a result, the Europeans in Delhi fled, fearful for their lives or were taken prisoner. Although some of the European officers blew up the arsenal, so as not to let it fall in the hands of the Freedom fighters, causing many civilian casualties, much of the magazine remained intact and fell into the hands of the Nationalists. Bahadur Shah Zafar, the Mughal Emperor living off a BEIC pension, was now left with no alternative but to join the ranks of the Nationalists when he was proclaimed the “Emperor of India”.

Bahadur Shah Zafar or Mirza Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar (October 1775 – November 1862):

During the reign of his father, Akbar II (1806-1837), the British East India’s growing influence in India, emboldened the British East India Company (BEIC) to remove the Mughal Emperor’s name from the coins struck and bring out coinage in the name of the BEIC. Even during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the BEIC influence was writ large across the Mughal Empire and the Emperor was paid a small pension by the Company.

He belonged to the “Timurid” Dynasty (meaning the “House of Timur”) and was the last Mughal emperor. Zafar (meaning “victory”) was his takhallus (or nom-de-plume) as an Urdu poet and he is credited with several Urdu ghazals and he was a noted Urdu Poet and a devout Sufi. Regarded as a Sufi Pir (or saint), he accepted several “murids” (or pupils).

His role in the I War of Indian Independence 1857:

While the BEIC was a major dominating political and military power in India around this time, there were several smaller kingdoms and principalities. Although Bahadur Shah Zafar did not have any political ambitions, the Indian Kings participating in the I War of Independence accepted him as the Emperor of India, in the tradition of his ancestors.

 On 12.05.1857, when the Indian "Sipahis" from Meerut reached Delhi and his retainers and several Indian Kings, joined them in proclaiming Bahadur Shah Zafar as the Emperor of India, he held his first public appearance in several years and gave his support to the I War of Indian Independence.

On 16.05.1857, it is alleged that 52 Europeans staying in Delhi were rounded up by the assembled regiments of the Freedom fighters and killed by some miscreants who hoped that this act would make it impossible for Bahadur Shah Zafar to seek an amicable solution with the BEIC, given his peace-loving demeanour.

Completely abhorring this incident and left with no choice, the Emperor appointed his eldest son Mirza Mughal as the Commander-in-Chief of his forces. Mirza Mughal had little military experience, and with the assembled regiments not following the orders of a centralised command and taking orders from their own ranking officers left several divisions within the ranks of the Freedom Fighters. Under the circumstances, the well-disciplined BEIC troops immediately seized the initiative.

The BIEC forces plundered the Red Fort and stole many valuables including jewels, books and cultural items many of which have found their way in several British museums in keeping with the “civilised culture” then professed by the Europeans. The Crown of Bahadur Shah Zafar II found its way into the so called “Royal Collection” in London, most of it accumulated through stealing valuables from other countries/Kings.

Several male members of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s family were killed by the BEIC army while some were exiled. His two sons Mirza Mughal & Mirza Khizr Sultan were shot along with his grandson Mirza Abu Bakr at a place which is known as “Khooni Darwaza” (or the “bloody gate”) by Major Hodson in his own capacity and without having any such authority to do so. He even went to the depraved act of presenting Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar with the decapitated heads of his sons, a terrible tragedy which the Emperor accepted with admirable equanimity.

In 1958, a summary trial was conducted on Emperor Bahadur shah Zafar for colluding with the Freedom fighters and the alleged killing of the 52 Europeans. After a lengthy one-sided trial lasting about forty days, he was found guilty of all charges and exiled to Yangon in British control where his wife Zeenat Mahal accompanied him.

He passed away in Yangon in 1862 and was buried in Yangon itself. His tomb was identified in 1991 and was converted into the Bahadur Shah Zafar Dargah shrine, as he was realised Sufi saint.

Rani Lakshmi Bai (19.11.1828-17.06.1858):

She was the Queen of the Maratha ruled Princely State of Jhansi (situated in present day Uttar Pradesh). She was one of the prominent leaders in the First war of Indian Independence and a symbol of resistance to the BEIC rule in India.

Born on 19.11.1828 in Varanasi, she was well-versed in archery, horsemanship and use of weapons, as well as, self defence.

Married to the Maharaja of Jhansi Raja Gangadhar Rao in 1842, she lost her natural born son when he was four months old. The Maharaja adopted his cousin’s boy named Damodar Rao on the day the Maharaja passed away.

Under the Doctrine of Lapse, Governor General Dalhousie rejected Damodar Rao’s claim to Jhansi’s throne in 1854 and ordered the Rani to leave the palace and Jhansi Fort and offered her a monthly pension of Rs.60000. She filed an appeal for the hearing of her case in London, but her plea was rejected.

The BEIC authorities confiscated the state jewels. Nevertheless, Rani Laxmibai was firm on protecting the State of Jhansi and Jhansi became a major focal point during the First War of Indian Independence.

From 1854 to 1857 she ruled Jhansi and was a very popular Ruler. Knowing that a confrontation with the BEIC was brewing, the Rani began to strengthen her position and formed a volunteer trained army consisting of both men and women.

Between September and October 1857, Rani Lakshmibai defended Jhansi against the neighbouring Princely states of Datia and Orchha.

On 20.03.1858, a numerically superior BEIC force consisting of some 60000 soldiers launched an attack on Jhansi fort which was defended by some 3000 regular troops and several common citizens. General Tatya Tope could not bring relief to Jhansi as his troops were engaged in action against another British Force. For eleven days the cannonade from Jhansi fort halted the British advance inflicting severe casualties on them. Ultimately, the British adopted treachery as a means of gaining access to the Jhansi Fort. Men, women and children who loved their Rani, defended the city to the last, with no quarter being asked for or given, before the Fort was captured and plundered by the British forces.

 Rani Laxmibai along with her adopted son Damodar was left with no alternative but to make a strategic withdrawal from Jhansi to Kalpi accompanied by some 200 trusted cavalry troopers, where she reinforced the city’s defences against the British forces which attacked the city on 22.05.1857. The Peshwa sent some troops to defend the city. The initial battle was won by the Nationalists under Rani Laxmibai, but the numerical superiority won the day for the British and Kalpi fell to them by 24.05.1857.

The Nationalists, including Raosaheb Peshwa (nephew of Nana Sahib), Nawab of Banda, Tatya Tope and other chieftains, then regrouped at Gwalior whose Ruler was pro-British. The Rani captured Gwalior and prepared to defend the city against the British.

Later, on 17.06.1858, the British attacked Gwalior from all sides, and the Rani fought them head on repulsing their attacks several times. Nevertheless, she was mortally wounded in the thick of battle fighting valiantly against the British troops, disguised as a “sowar” (male cavalry soldier). The soldiers did not recognise her and the battle-front moved forward enabling her retainers to bring her to a Brahmin’s Ashram in an unconscious state where she attained martyrdom at the age of 23, but not before expressing her last wish that her body should not be touched by any Britisher.

The fighting ended with the fall of Gwalior on 20.06.14.

Her exploits on the battlefield and the heroic defence at Jhansi, Kalpi & Gwalior against numerically much superior BEIC forces are legendary. She is remembered as the “Icon of the Indian Nationalist Movement” of 1857.

A lot of literature has been written in Rani Laxmibai’s honour, both in Hindi, English and Marathi. Several films have been made on her. Poems, epics and plays have been written about her exploits and of her fearlessly standing up against the injustices and might of the BEIC. Several statues have been installed in prominent public places in her honour.

Her name has become synonymous with valour displayed by women against injustices of any kind.

General Tatya Tope or Ramachandra Pandurang Tope (1814-18.04.1859):

He was an Indian Maratha leader in the First War of Indian Independence fought in 1857 and one of its more renowned generals owing allegiance to Nana Saheb of Bithoor, near Kanpur.

During the siege of Kanpur in 1857, Tatya Tope’s forces defeated the British troops, inflicting severe casualties on them, till they negotiated a safe passage to Allahabad.

British reinforcements were deployed from Allahabad who recaptured Kanpur after fierce fighting with Tatya Tope’s troops. Tatya Tope in November 1857 gathered another large army which again laid siege to the entry points of Kanpur. However, after the second battle of Kanpur, his troops made another strategic withdrawal where they linked up with the troops of Rani Laxmi Bai at Kalpi.
 After the battle of Gwalior, in which Rani Laxmi Bai attained martyrdom, Tatya Tope engaged in several guerrilla campaigns including in Central India, Malwa, Bundelkhand, Rajputana, Khandesh and Rajputana, from the recesses of the Vindhyas to the gorges of the Aravallis harassing British troop contingents. In addition, he fought several battles against British troops. 
The British failed to capture him for over a year but he was betrayed by his trusted friend Man Singh, the Raja of Narwar while asleep in a Jungle camp. He was captured on 07.04.1859 by the BEIC forces, tried by a military court, where when asked as to why he had led the forces of the Freedom fighters against the British, he answered that he was answerable only to his master Nana sahib Peshwa. He attained martyrdom on 18.04.1859 when he was hanged.

Tatya Tope was a brilliant military strategist with superb organising skills and his guerrilla tactics through which he attacked much superior British forces are legendary. He always led his troops from the front in every battle, thus gaining the admiration and unflinching loyalty of his men. He raised several committed armies of Indian Nationalists with the sole objective of ridding India of European Rule.

Reasons for the First War of Indian Independence not being entirely successful in achieving its ultimate objectives:

-      The actions against the Europeans in Oudh by Freedom fighters like Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi and General Tatya Tope have become legendary.

-       However, other Regions including the Bengal province, Bombay and Madras Presidencies and Princely States of Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, Kashmir, did not participate in the I War of Indian Independence. Punjab, Sind and Rajputana remained largely quiet. 

-      Major Hodson had established a network of Indian spies who came to the aid of the British infantry, particularly during the Delhi conflict, who provided the British with important information regarding the movement of the freedom fighters and inflicted substantial damage to the unsuspecting Freedom fighters resources and capabilities.

-      Although united in the common objective of attaining freedom from the BEIC Rule there was no unity of command among the forces of the Freedom fighters. The “Sipahis” of Bengal wanted to revive the ancient glories of the Mughal Empire while Nana Saheb and Tatya Tope tried to re-establish the Maratha Empire and Rani Laxmi Bai fought to regain her lost State. Although there were individually brilliant military actions recorded on the battle field on the side of the Freedom fighters, these were not enough to contain the might of the BEIC military juggernaut.

-      The British managed to get the loyalty of the Madras and Bombay Regiments as well as the Sikhs, Afghans and Gurkhas. The Gurkhas actually helped the British in suppressing the opposition. In all 21 Princely states had supported the British in this War as against seven Indian Princely states who had fought for Independence. (It is a popular belief that the Sikhs supported the British. While the Princely states of Punjab viz Patiala, Jind and Kapurthala supported the British with men and materials, the valour, sacrifices and heroism of the common Sikhs who fought against the British forces cannot be undermined. Several Sikh soldiers left the ranks of the British supporters to join the freedom fighters).

The limited objectives which were achieved after the first war of Indian Independence:

1)   The War which started as primarily based in Northern and Central India, achieved a limited objective of leading to the dissolution of the BEIC in 1858 and bringing the governance of the British Indian territories directly under the British Crown.

2)    The British Crown was forced to reorganise the Indian Army, the financial system and the administration in India.

3)    The policy of ruthless annexation in India was given up and Indian Princes were assured that their states would remain free. The right to adoption was also given to them.

4)   Full religious freedom was guaranteed to Indians. The early treaties of the BEIC with the Indian Princes were confirmed.

5)   The East India Company currency was frozen and the British Crown issued the Regal Coinage from 1862 which did away with any reference to the BEIC symbols/name.

Reorganisation of the Bengal Army in the aftermath of the 1857 War of Indian Independence:

In 1857, the Bengal Army had consisted of 86000 men, including 12000 Europeans, 16000 Sikhs and 1500 Gurkha soldiers. Fifty-four of the Bengal Army’s 75 regular Native Infantry Regiments had joined the ranks of the Freedom fighters. A number of the remaining 21 regiments were disarmed or disbanded to prevent further insubordination at any stage. Only 12 of the original Bengal Native Infantry regiments survived into the new British Indian Army. All ten Bengal Light cavalry regiments had joined the Freedom Fighters. Of the 29 Irregular Cavalry and 42 Irregular Infantry Regiments a substantial contingent from Oudh had joined the Freedom Fighters en masse. Similar selective disbanding from these regiments was carried out.

Commemorative Coins:

In November 2007, the Reserve Bank of India put into general circulation coins in the denominaton of Rs.5/- (Rupees Five) to commemorate The 150th Anniversary of the First War of Indian Independence.
The Reverse of the coin shows the combined  portraits of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II, the Warrior Queen Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and General Tatya Tope. General Tatya Tope’s portrait appears on the left hand side, in the centre is the portrait of Rani LaxmiBai in the battlefield, with the portrait of Emperor Bahadur Shah II on the right side. On the upper left periphery of the coin is mentioned the legend “Pratham Swatantrata Sangram” (in Hindi) and on the upper right periphery is mentioned “The First War of Independence” (in English).

Below their portraits is mentioned “150 varsh” (in Hindi) and “150 years” (in English). At the bottom are mentioned the commemoration years “1857-2007”. At the extreme bottom is the prominent “diamond” mint mark of the Mumbai mint is at the extreme bottom of this face of the coin, mentioned below the commemoration years.
The Obverse of the coin shows the Lion Capitol of the Ashoka Pillar in the centre of the coin, with the legend “Satyameva Jayate” inscribed below it in Hindi (meaning “Truth Always Prevails”). On the left periphery is written “Bharat” in Hindi and on the right periphery “India” is written. On the bottom of the coin, the denomination of the coin “5” is mentioned.

The specifications of the coin are:

Shape: Circular; Diameter: 23 mm,; Weight: 9.0 gms; No. of serrations: 100; Metal Composition: Nickel Brass (Copper – 75%; Nickel 25%);

Edge: Milled with serrated or upright milling and security edge. At the centre of the edge is a shallow groove with a design inside the two sections separated by blank spaces. This design consists of chain of beads in relief with each bead being followed by one inclined line in relief. There are a total of 30 lines and 30 beads.

Some time later, the Mumbai mint issued a two coin set in Proof & Uncirculated varieties, the coins being of Rs.100/- and Rs.5/- denominations.
 Strange, indeed, are the ways of the Indian Government at the material time, Indian Government Mints  and the Reserve Bank of India – i.e., when the Commemoration was for 150 years, then I am unable to fathom the reason for issuing a Rs.100/- coin instead of a Rs.150/- coin!!!

 The cover of the coin album containing the two coins proof-set. The cover mentions on top “Pratham Swatantrata Sangram 150 varsh” (in Hindi) and on the upper right periphery is mentioned “The First War of Independence 150 years” (in English).
Below this legend is an image of the engraving as it appears on the two coins. On the bottom left are mentioned “Smarak Sikke 2007” (in Hindi) and “Commemorative Coins 2007” (in English). On the extreme right hand bottom is mentioned the quality of the coins- “Proof set 2 coins”.

 The Obverse of the coins shows the Lion Capitol of the Ashoka Pillar in the centre of the coins, with the legend “Satyameva Jayate” inscribed below it in Hindi. On the left periphery is written “Bharat” and "Rupiye" (in Hindi) and on the right periphery “India” and "Rupees" is written in English. On the bottom of the coins,  the denomination of the coins "100" and  “5” is mentioned.

The Reverse of the two coins in the denominations of Rs.100/- and Rs.5/-  shows the combined  portraits of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II, the Warrior Queen Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and General Tatya Tope. General Tatya Tope’s portrait appears on the left hand side, in the centre is the portrait of Rani LaxmiBai in the battlefield, with the portrait of Emperor Bahadur Shah II on the right side. On the upper left periphery of the coin is mentioned the legend “Pratham Swatantrata Sangram” (in Hindi) and on the upper right periphery is mentioned “The First War of Independence” (in English).

Below their portraits are mentioned “150 varsh” (in Hindi) and “150 years” (in English). At the bottom is mentioned the commemoration years “1857-2007”.

At the extreme bottom is the prominent “M” mint mark of the Mumbai mint is at the extreme bottom of this face of the coins, mentioned below the commemoration years. This Mint Mark appears on all the Proof coin sets issued by the Mumbai Mint.

The specifications of these coins are:

100 Rupees coin:

Shape: Circular; Diameter: 44 mm; Weight: 35.0 gms; No. of serrations: 200; Metal Composition: Quaternary Alloy: Silver 50%, Copper40%; Nickel 5%, Zinc 5%;

5 Rupees coin:

Shape: Circular; Diameter: 23 mm,; Weight: 9.0 gms; No. of serrations: 100 (security edged); Metal Composition: Copper 75%, Nickel 25%.

Posted on 11.03.2015:
 A miniature sheet of stamps brought out by India Post commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the First War of Indian Independence fought in 1857.
A First day cover issued by India Post dated 09.08.2007 commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the First War of Indian Independence fought in 1857.


(The Five Rupee coin received in general circulation has been contributed for my collection by Krishna Tonpe, while the Commemorative two-coin Proof set is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The miniature sheet of stamps and the First day cover are from the collection of Rahul Kumar. Article researched and written and coins scanned by Rajeev Prasad).


1) The Ruins of the Lucknow Residency tell the story of hard fought battles during the First War of Indian Independence in 1857.


  1. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "Thanks for the very descriptive, elaborate but precise history of 'how our freedom struggle started 150 years back'. Hats off to your study".

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, as always.