Royal Mint considering coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi

The UK is considering a minted coin to commemorate Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants to recognise the “profound contribution” of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and has written to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC).

“RMAC is currently considering a coin to commemorate Gandhi,” the UK Treasury announced late on Saturday.

In his letter to the RMAC, Mr Sunak asked the committee to consider BAME groups’ contributions on the UK’s coinage, the MEN has reported.

Gandhi led a campaign for India’s independence from British Rule and was assassinated on January 30, 1948.

On the date of his birthday, October 2, Gandhi is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence.

British institutions have now started to re-examine their colonial past amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

This was triggered by the death of black American Geroge Floyd in May.

A bronze statue of Ghandi was erected in Manchester, with those behind the project saying it celebrated the ‘universal power’ of Gandhi’s message on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

But the statue, which was presented by the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD), was met with criticism by some University of Manchester students who claimed the peace leader as ‘anti-black’.

Manthan Taswala, from the SRMD, said: “Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings remain as potent today as when he first said, ‘be the change that you want to see in the world’.

“A statue in Manchester will ensure that the heart of our politics and democracy can all be blessed with his ethos.”

But in an open letter sent by students from the Decolonize Network, they called for acknowledgement from Manchester’s civic leaders of Gandhi’s ‘anti-black racism and complicity in the British empire’s actions in Africa’.

“He saw himself as a ‘fellow-colonist’, theorising Indians as a superior race, which he called ‘Indo-Ayran’ in explicit reference to white supremacist logic,” the letter read.

The #GandhiMustFall letter suggested Gandhi referred to Africans as being ‘savages’ and ‘like animals’.

A Manchester City Council spokesperson responded at the time: “Although we are aware that there is some debate about Gandhi’s life, most people in the city will see the statue in the context in which it was intended – to spread a message of peace, love and harmony.”

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