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They Mattered, Too!

Will the image of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist who had orchestrated Non-Violent Resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s Independence from British Rule – be seen in British currency in near future?

Finance Secretary Rishi Sunak has informed the media that the British Government will soon make a final decision in this regard. The initiative is thought to be a move to mark the achievements of non-White personalities across the globe, at a time when the Black Lives Matter Movement has rocked the world. Like Gandhi, the special commemorative coins could also feature Noor Inayat Khan, a lady of Indian descent who had been recruited to be a part of the British espionage network during the World War, and Mary Jane Seacole, a Jamaican-British nurse…

Rishi Sunak

Sunak recently sent a letter to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), which reviews new designs of coins, medals, seals and decorations, and then recommends the preferred designs to the (British) Government, in this regard. His Office said in a statement that the Finance Secretary’s move was in support to the ‘We too Built Britain’ campaign! It is to be noted that Sunak’s predecessor Sajid Javid, too, had been in favour of the campaign.

In a letter to Zehra Zahidi, who leads the campaign, Sunak wrote: “Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities have made a profound contribution to the shared history of the United Kingdom.” He added: “For generations, ethnic minority groups have fought and died for this country we have built together; taught our children, nursed the sick, cared for the elderly; and through their enterprising spirit have started some of our most exciting and dynamic businesses, creating jobs and driving growth.

MK Gandhi

Sunak also requested the Chair of the RMAC, Lord Waldegrave, to recognise the huge contributions of the non-Whites to Britain, by using their images in the British coinage. Currently, the Indian banknotes prominently display the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi.

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