Coins with the image of the leader of the Indian national liberation movement Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) will soon begin to be minted in the UK.
As the Sunday Telegraph reported on Sunday, a portrait of a person with a dark skin color will appear on the British currency for the first time.
The plans to issue a new coin with the image of Gandhi became known a week after the head of the British Ministry of Finance Rishi Sunak asked the expert committee at the Royal mint to вЂњ consider the possibility of recognizing the contribution of blacks, Asians and other representatives of ethnic minorities not only in history but also in the present and futureвЂќ UK. British activists have been working for several years to ensure that the merits of minorities are marked by placing portraits of their representatives on banknotes.
It is planned that after Gandhi, British coins will also feature images of intelligence officer Nur Inayat Khan (1914-1944), Jamaican вЂ” born nurse Mary Seacole (1805-1881), as well as British army soldiers originally from India and Nepal (Gurkhas), who were awarded the Victoria Cross for the heroism-the highest military award of the United Kingdom.
The obverse of British coins is traditionally decorated with the profile of the reigning monarch, and sometimes portraits of members of the Royal family or prominent historical figures are placed on the reverse. The vast majority of coins designed in this way were minted in the last 20 years on the occasion of various anniversaries and were issued in wide circulation. Less than two dozen people were awarded this honor, including naturalist and founder of evolutionary biology Charles Darwin (1809-1882), Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), writer Jane Austen (1775-1817), heir to the British throne Prince Charles and his first wife Princess Diana (1961-1997).
The issue of a wider recognition of the merits of representatives of ethnic minorities has become particularly relevant in the UK in connection with the activity of the black lives matter movement (вЂњBlack Lives MatterвЂќ). Its supporters oppose police brutality and racial discrimination and demand that almost 80 monuments to famous Britons who were seen вЂњglorifying racism and slaveryвЂќ be demolished. It is noteworthy that the number of вЂњracistsвЂќ included Mahatma Gandhi himself, whom some supporters of the movement accused of disdain for blacks. The reason was some excerpts from Gandhi's letters written when he lived in South Africa, where the author of the idea of achieving India's independence from Great Britain by non-violent means spent 20 years of his life.