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Sunday, 13 December 2015

239) Prominent Events of Mahatma Gandhi’s life portrayed on a silver five coin set issued by the New Zealand Mint on behalf of Niue Island:

239) Prominent Events of Mahatma Gandhi’s life portrayed on a silver five coin set issued by the New Zealand Mint on behalf of Niue Island:

New Zealand Mint has released a five-silver coins set from the East India Company. Each 1 oz.silver coin is minted to the highest proof quality featuring 24 carat selective gold plate and is presented in a beautiful lacquered display case with an information booklet and a Certificate of Authenticity.

Mahatma Gandhi is a legendary and much loved personality both in India and around the World. An extra-ordinary human being whose ideology, based on the foundations of truth, honesty, non-violence, hard word and service to humanity meant that the Mahatma still remains one of the most important and influential persons of all time.

His mission started in 893, at a young age of 24. Whilst working as a lawyer in South Africa, he was brutally thrown out from a first class carriage of a train for being a non-white passenger in an all white carriage, although he was holding a valid ticket. This incident became a defining moment of change, not just for one man but for a whole nation.

 At the core of all his endeavours was the belief in the strength of the ordinary human being. His messages and teachings inspired apartheid and civil rights leaders world-wide including Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

These coins have been released on 2nd October 2015, which is Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary, recognised world-wide as the “International Day of Non-Violence”.

This limited edition collection of five silver coins have been issued in his honour as a lasting tribute to his message and teachings, commemorating 100 years since his return to India.

The First Coin:

Arriving in Bombay (present day Mumbai) on 09.01.2015, Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba received a warm welcome in India. He was given the appellation “Mahatma” or “Great Soul” by Ravindra Nath Tagore, (the well-known Nobel Laureate for Literature, and Bengali thinker/writer of songs, plays and the like, which are extremely popular even today) who in turn was fondly called “Gurudev” by Mahatma Gandhi.

South Africa had been the crucible that created his identity as a political activist.  His arrival at the age of 45 was greeted with excitement and anticipation, Honoured with the “Kaisar-i-Hind” gold medal in the King’s birthday honours list of 1915, Mahatma Gandhi was showered with admiration, wherever he went. This was to become the beginning of a Nation’s journey towards Independence, self-governance and liberty under the guidance and teachings of this simple man.

This coin shows the inscription “GANDHI’S ARRIVAL IN INDIA – 1915” on the right to lower periphery and “BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD” on the upper to left Periphery. Mahatma Gandhi is seen wearing a traditional Indian dress.

The Second Coin:

In September 1920, Mahatma Gandhi organised the Non-Cooperation Movement in India in an attempt to induce the British authorities to grant Self-Governance or “Swaraj” to India. This Movement enveloped the whole nation, particularly after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre at Amritsar in April 1919, in which the British Administrators killed several hundred innocent and unarmed Indians. This non-violent civil disobedience movement spread across India, through the resignation of titles, boycotting of government institutions and refusal to pay British imposed taxes. Gandhi’s aim was to unite all Indians in protest using the might of India’s population and the moral force of non-violence.

In 1921, the British authorities confronted a united Indian front for the first time, was visibly shaken but there were sporadic outbursts of violence across the nation.

After an angry mob burned a police station killing several police personnel at Chauri Chaura in February 1922, Mahatma Gandhi called off the Movement as an act of atonement, stating that India was not ready yet for the fight for Freedom.

The following month he was arrested but he had succeeded in transforming Indian Nationalism from a middle class thought process to a masses based Movement.

This coin shows the inscription “NON-COOPERATION MOVEMENT, 1920” on the right to lower periphery and “BE HATE THE SIN, LOVE THE SINNER” on the upper to left Periphery. Mahatma Gandhi is shown here examining the Khadi cloth that he has spun on a Spinning Wheel or “Charkha” as part of the Non-Cooperation Movement and wearing “Swadeshi” on Indian-made clothes.

The Third Coin:

On 12.03.1930, in his boldest act of Civil Disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi began a long march to the Arabian Sea in protest against a British imposed Salt Tax. Directly affecting all strata of Indian Society – from the very rich to the very poor – this law had made it illegal to sell or produce salt, allowing for a complete British monopoly on the sale of this essential food ingredient.

Thousands of Indians joined Mahatma Gandhi along the way, from his retreat near Ahmedabad to the Arabian Sea coast, a distance of some 240 miles.

On 05.04.1930, Mahatma Gandhi and his followers reached the Arabian Sea. Here, in a symbolic gesture, they made their own salt by evaporating sea water – a direct violation of the British law.

The march resulted in the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi and 60,000 others. As a wide array of International journalists was covering the event, this event gained wide publicity and gained international respect and support for both the leader and his movement. A notable feature of this March was that the British Authorities used steel tipped batons to strike at the heads of the marchers. Yet wave after wave of marchers moved forward to be hit by police batons while offering no resistance or violence only to sustain injuries and be struck down.

This coin shows the inscription “GANDHI’S SALT MARCH, 1930” on the right to lower periphery and “IN A GENTLE WAY, YOU CAN SHAKE THE WORLD” on the upper to left Periphery. Mahatma Gandhi is shown wearing “Khadi Charkha spun clothes” or indigenous clothes and leading the Salt Marchers.

The Fourth Coin:

AsWorld War II erupted, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (who had served as a subaltern in India and there is still a huge bill outstanding against his name at the Secunderabad Club in India which he quietly ignored when leaving India for Britain) announced that India was to join the war as a constituent of the British Empire. Mahatma Gandhi and the then Indian National Congress (INC) while denouncing Nazism, were adamant that India should not come to Britain’s aid while Indians were being subjugated at home and ratified the “Quit India” resolution calling for “complete and immediate orderly withdrawal of the British from India”. Before the All India Congress Committee on 08.08.1942, Mahatma Gandhi addressed all the people of India with the message: “Here is mantra, a short one that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is “Do or Die. We shall either free India or die in the attempt”.

The following day Mahatma Gandhi and members of the INC were arrested. He and his wife Kasturba were imprisoned at different locations at Pune. Tragically, Kasturba passed away while under arrest. Her “Samadhi” (Memorial) exists at the Aga Khan Palace where Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned. The Aga Khan Palace is now a National Heritage building, about two kilometres from our residence.

By 1944, most demonstrations had been brutally suppressed, yet on his release, Mahatma Gandhi continued his resistance, undertaking a 21-day fast in protest of the violence used against the demonstrators. Nevertheless, by the end of World War II in 1945, India’s demand for Independence could no longer be ignored.

This coin shows the inscription “QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT, 1942” on the right to lower periphery and “THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DO TODAY” on the upper to left Periphery. Three waves of non-violent protestor monitored by British authorities are shown on this coin face.

The Fifth Coin:

On 15.08.1947, India became free from British Rule. The likes of Winston Churchill (and their unpaid bills) had gone out of the country once and for all.

However, the British Authorities played their last cunning move. The country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. After years of struggle for freedom for a united India, violence broke out in some areas between communities of vastly diverse cultures and religions. For Mahatma Gandhi this victory – Independence was hollow and tinged with sadness and disappointment at the events which followed. On the day India received its Independence, Mahatma Gandhi spent the day fasting and spinning his Charkha.

For him, non-violence went beyond independence and elections. It must be fully integrated “economically, politically and morally”. He understood that this would take a lifetime to achieve and that there was much more to be done.

One of the last notes left behind by him in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought – “I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away”.

This coin shows the inscription “MY LIFE IS MY MESSAGE- MAHATMA GANDHI” on the right to lower periphery and “INDIAN INDEPENDENCE, 1947” on the upper to left Periphery. Mahatma Gandhi is shown smiling with the Indian Flag (the Tri-colour) flying in the background. 
Below is an image of the common obverse to these coins: showing the inscription "Niue Island", 1 dollar" and year of issue as '2015"


  1. Satyajit Pratap has commented:
    "And we have forgotten about this event ..."

    1. He was one of the most prominent leaders who had a clear-cut vision on how the British would run scared & ultimately Quit India. And all thru the mantra of Satyagrah and non-violence.

  2. Mita Banerjee has commented:

  3. Jayashree Mukherjee has commented:
    "Interesting. "