Author Topic: Information: Personalities & Events on Indian coins  (Read 120534 times)

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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2011, 10:12:23 AM »

The Indian Railways, which has a state monopoly on rail transport in India, ranks as the 4th largest globally with more than 63,000km of laid tracks that carry more than 16mn passengers & 1mn tonnes of freight daily. It also ranks amongst the world's largest utility companies by head-count employing more than 1.6mn people. Indian Railways operates both long distance and suburban rail systems.
Plans were afoot to build a rail system in India since 1832, but did not materialise until 1851, when a train was used to haul construction material in a localised-area of Roorkee. However, on 16 April 1853, the first passenger train service was inaugurated between Bori Bunder, Bombay & Thane that covered a distance of 34 km and heralded the formal birth of railways in India. Thereafter, the govt. embarked on a massive expansion drive, backed by private British companies & investors and primarily concentrated towards connecting the three major port cities i.e. Bombay, Calcutta & Madras. Soon various princely states built their own rail systems and the network spread to most regions of modern India. By 1895, India had started building its own locomotives, and in 1896 sent engineers and locomotives to help build the Uganda Railway.
The railways raked in profits until the first World War when resources were diverted to the British war effort outside India. The government took over direct Railway management and segregated it's financing from other governmental entities in 1920, a practice that continues to date with a separate railway budget. WWII severely crippled the railways as trains were diverted to the Middle East, and the railway workshops were converted into munitions factories. At the time of independence,  a large portion of the railways went to newly formed Pakistan. In 1948, 42 separate railway systems, including 32 lines owned by the former princely states, were amalgamated as a single unit and christened as the Indian Railways. These were re-organised into six zones in 1952.
By 1985, steam locomotives were phased out in favour of diesel and electric locomotives. The entire railway reservation system was computerised in 1995. Over the last decade, the Railways has made huge investments to modernise the network with the twin objectives of minimising accidents and providing better services while keeping fares low/reasonable. It has undertaken ambitious projects such as the completion of the Konkan Railway which snakes along the western ghats, building of the J&K link that traverses icy mountains and deep valleys, a dedicated highspeed freight corridor (with Japanese investment) to connect all major metros etc.   

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Funfact : First time that a caricature/cartoon-like motif (i.e. Bholu, the Railways Mascot) has been featured on an Indian coin.

Official website:
Immortalised in Bollywood - Chaiya Chaiya:
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:46:55 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2011, 07:11:11 AM »

Following it's haph-hazard approach in issuing newly-designed standard circulation coins between 2005 and 2010 (i.e. National Unity, IT & Nritya Mudra), the govt. has made yet another attempt to correct it's previous misteps while trying to give an international look to India's coinage as well as popularising the new currency symbol among the masses. Each coin in the new set will bear the recently introduced Rupee Symbol (except the 50paise coin). In order to retain tactile consistency among the coins, the Rupee Symbol has been placed above the numeral with two lotus plants flanking the denomination on either side. However, the Rs10 coin has retained the IT coin design, albeit with fewer "Rays" or "Leaves". The Ashoka Lion will grace the Reverse side. The Rs10 and Rs5 coins have retained their previous dimensions, while the Rs2, Re1 and 50p have been reduced in size and weight. The coins are expected to enter circulation from July-August 2011.

New Rupee Symbol : In March 2009, the Union Government announced an open competition to select a symbol for the Indian Rupee that would set it apart from other rupees (and other similar currencies like Rupaiyah, Rufiya etc) with the aim of reflecting India's rising prominence on the global stage. Five designs were short-listed and ultimately on 15 July 2010, at the Union Council of Ministers meeting, the design submitted by Uday Kumar (an assistant professor at IIT Guwahati) was declared the winner. The Rupee symbol is an amalgamation of the Latin alphabet "R" and devnagiri "र". Two parallel horizontal lines run across the top of the symbol consistent with other international currency symbols and according to the designer, indicates the tricolour as well as the equality sign (i.e alluding to India's constant effort to uplift all her peoples). The unveiling of the symbol has been mostly welcomed for it's relative simplicity and easy identifiability among foreigners & Indians alike. However, a PIL has been filed in Delhi High Court by one of the participants of the Rupee Symbol Contest who alleged that the selection process was flawed and that political connections decided the final outcome (Uday Kumar happens to be the son of a DMK party leader). Since it's unveiling the Rupee Symbol has steadily replaced the "Rs." on product packagings, in advertisements, in newspaper articles etc. The Symbol will also grace the new banknotes. Currently the symbol has been set in Unicode as U+20B9. It will soon be available at ALT GR + 4.

Fun Fact : Oddly enough, although this is a new set, the govt. has decided to re-use the 1992 design of the Rs5 coin for the entire set.  Can anyone tell me why the Rs10 IT design has been retained ?  
Read WoC discussion on the Rupee Symbol here
WSJ interview with Uday Kumar:
Download Foradian Font for Rupee symbol:
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 07:31:18 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2011, 10:26:34 AM »

Born as Prince Vardhaman in Kungalagrama, present day Bihar, Mahavir (meaning "Great Hero") became Jainism's 24th Tirthankar (i.e. the most ideal embodiement of Jain philosophy). His birth was considered auspicious and coincided with increasing prosperity in the Kingdom. Even as a child, Vardhaman engaged in meditation and immersed himself in self-contemplation. At 30yrs old, Mahavir renounced his Kingdom and family, giving up all worldly possessions, including his clothes, to become a wandering ascetic for the remainder of his life. He exhibited exemplary control over his senses while enduring penance during these years, travelling across India and preaching the basic tenets of jain belief. Mahavir taught that men and women are spiritual equals and that both may renounce the world in search of moksha or ultimate happiness. He attracted people from all walks of life, and organized his followers into a fourfold order; monk (Sadhu), nun (Sadhvi), layman (Shravak), and laywoman (Shravika). Mahavira's teachings were preserved orally by his immediate disciples known as Ganadharas in the Agam Sutras. Through time, many Agam Sutras have been lost, destroyed, or modified. Later on, the Agam Sutras were recorded on Tadpatris (palm leaf paper). Swetambar Jains accept these sutras as authentic teachings while Digambar Jains use them as a reference.

A little bit on Jainism & the community : Jainism prescribes absolute pacifism & non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasizes self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness & liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved a state of supreme being is called Jina (Conqueror or Victor) or Arihant. Only a few souls that reach Arihant status become Thirthankars. Jains follow the teachings of 24 Tirthankars (i.e. those who have shown the way to salvation from the cycles of births and deaths). Apart from Thirthankars, Jains worship special Arihants such as Bahubali (also known as Gommateshvara) who was the second of one hundred sons of the first Tirthankara.
Numbering around 10mn worldwide, the Jain community & it's philosopy has profoundly influenced various aspects of Indian civilization. Today it is one of the most wealthiest and educated communities in modern India. It's adherents are identifiable though their unique and richly decorated temples, eating habits (strict vegetarians), business practices, literature, animal rights activism etc. The community is divided into four basic sects i.e Digambars & three types of Shvetambars based on conservatism & rigidity of interpretation apart from certain other minor factors; yet the basic tenets are all universally accepted. 

Fun Fact: First coin in Modern India to commemorate Jainism/ Jain Icons

For any of our Jain members, please PM me if there is anything in the above that needs correction.
On Jainism:
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:47:44 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2011, 08:56:59 AM »
MAHARANA PRATAP (1540-1597) 2003

As the eldest son of Maharana Udai Singh II, Maharana Pratap Singh ascended the throne in 1568 (even though his father wished another son to become King). Born in 1540, at a time when the Mughal dynasty had expanded it's suzerainity over most of the subcontinent (and even into Afghanistan, Tibet & Burma), Maharana Pratap Singh, unlike other Rajput Kings, refused to enter into an alliance with the Mughals under which Emperor Akbar would become the supreme Regent. The Mughals were forced to wage what would become a 30 year war with the Maharana once they realised that he would not accept their diplomatic overtures. Facing the Mughals, whose armies & allies vastly outnumbered his own, Maharana Pratap Singh not only managed to hold on to small pockets of influence, but towards the later years of his life, even re-captured most of his lost Kingdom (with exception to Chittorgarh Fort, the original capital of his Kingdom). Stories abound about the valour, generosity, forward thinking & humbleness of Maharana Pratap which are now part of legend and folklore, expecially among the Rajputs of Rajasthan. Not only was the Maharana regarded as a warrior, but also as a patron of the arts, architecture and literature which he actively encouraged even as he was on the battlefield. Special mention has been made about his loyal horse "Chetak", who as the story goes, sacrificed it's own life to protect the Maharana during the battle of Haldighati in 1576 by pulling the Maharana to safety even though it was critically wounded.  However, in recent years, right-wing Hindu groups have tried to co-opt the Maharana as a symbol of the "Hindu fight against Muslims". But most Indians see Maharana Pratap Singh more comprehensively and in-depthly as a role model to emulate for his never-say-die attitude inspite of overwhelming adversity. :
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:48:26 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2011, 11:26:08 AM »
VEER DURGADAS (1638-1718) 2003

Durgadas Rathore (born in 1638) was the son of Askrana Rathore, a general in the army of Marwari Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur (in present day Rajasthan). The story goes that the young Durgadas got into an argument with one of the Maharaja's official camel herders eventually killing him over the latters refusal to redirect the camel herd away from a field. Durgadas was summoned to the Maharaja's court explain himself. The Maharaja was impressed with Durgadas' plea that he was defending the Maharaja's honour as the camels were destroying the fields of ordinary peasants and rewarded Durgadas with an appoinment in the Royal Army.
Meanwhile, the Mughal empire was expanding and Maharaja Jaswant Singh entered into a subservient alliance with Emperor Aurangzeb. In 1679, the Maharaja died without any immediate male heir. However, two of his wives were pregnant. Hadi Rani eventually gave birth to Ajit Singh who would be proclaimed the new Maharaja. The Mughals opportunistically intervened, insisting that Ajit Singh would be raised in the Mughal household in Delhi to guarantee the infant king's safety. This was unacceptable to the Rajputs and in a daring but bloody rescue, Durgdas along with 300 men (only seven survived) spirited away Ajit Singh to Balunda on the fringes of the Marwar Kingdom.
The Mughals would continue to rule Marwar for the next 20 years. Durgadas and other former leaders of the Maharaja's army conducted a long standing guerilla war wherein they would raid trade & treasury convoys thus stifling the Mughal Empire's finances in the Marwari region. Following Emperor Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Rajputs eventually evicted the occupying Mughal Force and coronated Ajit Singh as Maharaja of Jodhpur.
Durgadas has been lionised in Rajasthan as role model for his uprightness, valour and loyalty. Another story narrates his respect for all religions; one of Aurangzeb's sons, Sultan Muhammad Akbar rebelled against his father. Durgdas extended aid to him, however Akbar died in exile leaving his children in Durgadas' custody. Emperor Aurangzeb demanded that his grand-children be returned. Durgadas agreed. When the children arrived, Aurangzeb, worried that they would not know how to read the Quran, was astonished to hear one of his grand-daughters reciting ayats from the Holy Book. She explained that Durgdas had engaged a Qazi to take care of their religious training. Durgadas, having fulfilled his pledge to protect the Marwar Kingdom devoted himself to Mahakaal (a derivation of Lord Shiva), dying in 1718 in Ujjain.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:48:54 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2011, 08:39:12 AM »
K KAMARAJ 1903-1975 (2003)

"Face the problem. Don't evade it. Find a solution, however small. People will be satisfied if you do something."

Kumarasami Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975.
He was involved in the Indian independence movement and served time in prison for his activities during the Quit India Movement and the Salt Satyagraha. As a high ranking office bearer of the Indian National Congress and its President in 1963, he was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Indira Gandhi in 1966. In Tamil Nadu, his home state, he is still remembered for bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education and the free Mid-day Meal Scheme during his tenure as chief minister. He was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976.

Fun Fact: First coin to commemorate a former State Chief Minister of India
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:49:40 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2011, 09:24:22 AM »
DADABHAI NAOROJI 1825-1917 (2004)

The Grand Old Man of India

Even as a young man, Dadabhai was a path-breaker. At 25, he became the first native Indian professor of the Elphinstone College in Bombay. In 1855, as a partner of Cama & Co, he was instrumental in opening the first UK branch in Liverpool of an Indian company. Following that, he started teaching Gujarati at the University College London. In 1867 Naoroji helped establish the East India Association with the aim of putting across the Indian point of view before the British public. The Association was instrumental in counter-acting propaganda from the Ethnological Society of London which, in its session in 1866, had tried to prove the inferiority of Asians to Europeans. His activism eventually convinced the government to hold the Indian Civil Services Examinations in the UK and India simultaneously and permit Indian cadres. In 1874, he returned to India to become Prime Minister of the erstwhile Princely State of Baroda and then member of the Legislative Council of Bombay Presidency (1885–88). He was also a member of the Indian National Association founded by Sir Surendranath Banerjea from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Bombay, with the same objectives and practices. Naoroji was elected President of the Congress in 1886. He went on to hold two more terms in 1893 and 1906. During his time in India, he published his paper "Poverty and Un-British Rule" in 1901 pointing out the drain of India's wealth to England under discriminatory tax and trade regulations at a time when the country was in dire need of industrialization and other economic reforms. Naoroji moved to Britain once again and continued his political involvement. Elected as a Liberal Party candidate from Finsbury Central constituency during the 1892 general election, he was the first non-white person to enter the British House of Commons as a member. In Parliament, he used his access to speak about Irish Home Rule and the plight of the Indian people. Having mentored future Freedom movement leaders including Gokhale, Jinnah and Gandhi, Naoroji breathed his last on 30 June 1917.

Please do let me know if you find anything factually inaccurate with this particular note. I had to navigate through a fair bit of conflicting information on certain aspects of his life.

Fun Fact: First Parsi (i.e. Zoarashtrian) to be commemorated on post-independence Indian Coins
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 01:15:43 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2011, 10:46:33 AM »

Bhakti - Jagruti - Bhratruva (Devotion, Consciousness, Fraternity)

Sant Tukaram, colloquially referred to as "Tuka", was a 17th century Marathi Poet-Saint from Dehu near present-day Pune and a key proponent of the Bhakti movement as well as the Bhagawat tradition which began with Namdev. Tukaram, was a devotee of Lord Vitthal (a form of Lord Krishna), the supreme God in Vaishnavism. Typical of the Varkari community to which he belonged and is especially revered by, service to the community and group worship through music were Tukaram's methods to create a connection with God. Tukaram immersed himself deeply into spirituality through his kirtans i.e. discourses mixed with spiritual poetry, although his philosophy was firmly grounded in the reality of day-to-day existence. It was focused on the actual behaviour of a person and his inner mental peace. His teachings were simple and effective and as a result he acquired a significant following. He constantly emphasized that orthodox religion, like the study of the Vedas was just a formality; the real expression of religion was love and affection in one's daily activities. His teaching encompassed a wide array of issues and often touched upon the importance of nature and the ecosystem in our lives. Tukaram wrote in a special verse form called the abhanga, a run-on couplet with three and a half stanzas in which the first three stanzas would rhyme. The Mantra Gita, a translation of the Bhagavad Gita in the abhanga form is ascribed to Tukaram. It is an interpretation of the Gita from a Bhakti perspective. Another work ascribe to him is the Ghata, a collection of 4,500 abhangas. To this day, many of his poems find resonance particularly in Maharashtra and are even taught in the state's primary school syllabus.

If anyone would like to talk more about The Bhakti Movement or "Bhagawat Tradition" started by Namdev, please PM me your comments or post in the "Comments on Personalities & Events on Indian coins" thread. I will add it in here accordingly
Bhakti Movement :
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 05:25:07 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2011, 08:00:03 AM »

Conscience of the Nation

Narayan's early education at Patna College was disrupted by his participation in the non-co-operation movement of 1921. Although he enrolled briefly thereafter in a new nationalist institution, Bihar Vidyapith, he eventually completed his education in the United States, where he lived between 1922 and 1929 leading to a MA degree in sociology. News of his mother's illness brought him back to India and through his wife, whose father was a very important Bihar politician, and who herself was ensconced in Gandhi's ashram at Ahmadabad, Narayan soon found himself at the centre of nationalist politics and in personal contact with both Gandhi and Nehru. Although he came close to and worked with Nehru at first, he set himself apart as the leading exponent of a social and economic programme within the Indian National Congress that went beyond the mere demand for independence from British rule. In 1934 along with others, he formed the Congress Socialist Party to work within the Indian National Congress, seeking to influence the social and economic policies of the parent organization. Narayan participated actively in most of the major movements against British rule and was imprisoned in 1932, in 1940, and again in 1943, emerging from a Lahore jail only in April 1946. After Indian independence in 1947, Narayan and several of his colleagues in the Congress Socialist Party severed their ties with the parent body to form an opposition party eventually christened the Praja Socialist Party in 1953. In 1954 he announced his retirement from politics to join the Sarvodaya movement started by noted Gandhian Vinoba Bhave that emphasised voluntary land redistribution, communal land ownership, small-scale production, and self-sufficient, self-governing village communities. These shifts in his principal activities in Indian public life were all marked by major breaks in his political thought: from Marxism and sympathy with Soviet communism to disenchantment with the latter as well as with Indian communist practices and a shift to democratic socialism, followed by disenchantment with party politics and a shift to constructive social work and moral criticism of political authority and, finally, disillusionment with the pace and effectiveness of Sarvodaya and a call for total revolution in the moral, economic, and social bases of society through struggle, including mass movements when necessary. During his years of retirement from active politics J. P. sought nevertheless to influence government policy and public opinion through his prolific writings on contemporary political issues, domestic and international; through public speeches and exhortations to the country's political leaders; and by offering his services as an impartial negotiator. He was also active in organizing relief activities in times of disaster and catastrophe, such as during the 1966–67 Bihar famine.
However, Narayan's most dramatic contribution occurred between 1974 and 1977, when he emerged from political retirement to lead a growing movement against the authoritarian leadership of then PM Indira Gandhi and the increasing debasement of national politics as the Congress became increasingly corrupt and sycophantically dependent upon Mrs Gandhi, her family, and her political entourage. It was at this time that he gave his new call for a ‘total revolution’. He was detained along with most other opposition leaders and many thousands of activists during the two-year emergency imposed by Mrs Gandhi between 1975 and 1977. Despite ill-health as a result of confinement, he lived long enough to play a central role in forging opposition unity through the Janata Party which made it possible to defeat the congress in the 1977 parliamentary elections, thereby installing the first non-Congress government of India.

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Fun Fact: Our member, sekharkaushik reports that the size of the portrait on coins bearing the Hyderabad mintmark is larger than the regular issues. Although debatable, I thought it should be mentioned in anycase. Read the WoC discussion here
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:50:53 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2011, 08:18:02 AM »

The earliest reference to an official postal system in India was made in the 14th century by the Arab traveler and historian Ibn Battūtah, remarking upon the organized official service of mounted couriers and runners. The system was brought to its height during the 16th century under the great Mughal emperor Akbar, with a network of 2,000 miles of post roads. Two centuries of political turmoil, without a strong central authority, destroyed this courier system. It was not until 1766 that an official post was reestablished under the British East India Company. The system was reorganized and the service opened to the general public by Warren Hastings, the first governor general of Bengal with supervisory powers over Bombay and Madras in 1774. In 1837 the Imperial Post was established and granted a monopoly to provide efficient postal communications between the seat of government at Calcutta and the principal provincial towns. Within the provincial districts a complementary local service was maintained. As per the Post office Act 1854, the basis of the modern Indian Post Office was established when these parallel systems were merged under the first Director-General H P A B Riddle. A uniform postage rate was then introduced and adhesive stamps issued (though Sind was already using such stamps in 1852). International postal relations developed rapidly after the establishment of a weekly steamer service between Bombay and England in 1867, with India becoming a member of the UPU by 1876. At the same time, the post office began to expand the range of services provided to the public: COD in 1877, an insured service in 1878, and money orders in 1880. Internal communications were improved to keep pace with the progress made in these other fields. The “bullock train”—the Indian equivalent of the mail coach—gave way to the growing network of railways. A regular traveling post-office service was introduced in 1870. Although experiments with airmail conveyance started in 1911, a regular inland service did not begin until 1932. Rapid expansion followed in 1949. A complex night airmail network connects all major cities, carrying a growing percentage of the mail. Railways have retained much of the traffic as a result of speedier train services, although motor vehicles have become the dominant carrier of mail. More traditional forms of transport—the foot runner, horse, mule, camel, bullock cart, and bicycle—still help distribute mail to many of India’s villages. More than one-half of these now have daily delivery of letters, and almost all have at least weekly delivery.

- India has the highest post office in the world in Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh at a height of 15,500 feet (postal code - 172114).
- The world's first official airmail flight took place in India, on 18 February 1911. It was a journey that spanned 18 kilometres and lasted 27 minutes. Henri Pequet, a French pilot, ferried around 15 kilos of mail (approximately 6,000 letters and cards) across the Ganga, from Allahabad to Naini. Included in the historic airmail was a letter to King George V of the United Kingdom.

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« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:51:36 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2011, 03:24:37 PM »

Nov 14 is Nehru's birthday celebrated in India as Bal Diwas i.e. Children's Day. I think it’s only fair I break from my normal path and write about Chacha Nehru today

"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity."

Early years in the Freedom Movement
Nehru was born in 1889 to a prominent wealthy Allahabad-based Kashmiri family. Under the tutelage of his father Motilal Nehru and after a few years of legal practice, Jawarharlal quickly took to the political movement that was spreading across India which demanded a greater say for native Indians in the British-Raj government. Although his close association with the Congress dated back to 1919, it wasn't until the Lahore plenary session in 1929 (that declared the intent for full independence) as the Congress President that Nehru gained prominence. Although Nehru often ideologically disagreed with Gandhi's stand on the British war effort in WWII and that of a de-centralized village-based economy besides a plethora of other issues, Nehru reposed his faith in Gandhi and led many of the revolutionary movements, serving eight stints in prison for an accumulated nine years from 1924 - 1945.

The first Provincial Assemblies and testing times of Partition
With the passing away of Motilal Nehru in 1931, Jawarharlal moved even closer to Gandhi and within a few years was recognized as the political heir-apparent of the Mahatma. The various Round-Table talks in London in 1931-32 between the British govt. and the Congress & Muslim League eventually lead to the Government of India Act 1935 which mandated the formation of provincial assemblies and a gradual autonomous federation of imperial provinces and princely states. The congress swept through most of the provincial assemblies and therefore declined to enter into coalition talks with the Muslim League. The Muslim League's poll debacle and its seeming irrelevance hardened the league's stand with the call for an independent homeland for the Muslims of India. Alleged personal animosity between Nehru and Jinnah did not help matters and Lord Wavell's final effort to reach a negotiated settlement for the unity of India failed with the League re-invigorating its call for an Independent Pakistan through Direct Action Day (which ignited horrendous riots across northern India).     

India’s first Prime Minister and the Planned Economy
Nehru presided over the introduction of a modified, Indian version of state planning and control over the economy. Creating the Planning commission of India, Nehru drew up the first Five-Year Plan in 1951, which charted the government's investments in industries and agriculture. Increasing business and income taxes, Nehru envisaged a mixed economy in which the government would manage strategic industries such as mining, electricity and heavy industries, serving public interest and a check to private enterprise. Nehru pursued land redistribution and launched programs to build irrigation canals, dams and spread the use of fertilizers to increase agricultural production. He also pioneered a series of community development programs aimed at spreading diverse cottage industries and increasing efficiency into rural India. While encouraging the construction of large dams (which Nehru called the "new temples of India"), irrigation works and the generation of hydroelectricity, Nehru also launched India's program to harness nuclear energy. For most of Nehru's term as prime minister, India would continue to face serious food shortages despite progress and increases in agricultural production.

A shining foreign policy but for a grave mistake
Anti-colonialism and the Non-aligned Movement : One of the basic tenets of India’s foreign policy was to serve as a beacon to other suppressed peoples still struggling for their Independence, directly lending moral and political support to movements in Ghana, the Maghreb and elsewhere. Along with Abdul Gamal Nasser of Egypt and Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, Nehru helped set up the Non-Align Movement, a group of nations which did not wish to firmly align themselves with either the US or the Soviets.
Securing India’s territorial Integrity : The partition of 1947 still left the fate of the then-princely state of Jammu & Kashmir in question. While initially reluctant, the Maharaja finally signed the instrument of accession in order to repel Pakistani guerilla fighters and army men from over-running the kingdom. With India having reclaimed 2/3rds of J&K, the UN resolutions in 1948 mandated that Pakistani fighters withdraw from the entire Kashmir region after which India would hold a plebiscite there to determine whether the state should join India or Pakistan. However, the Pakistani army never withdrew and the plebiscite was never held.
Serving an ultimatum after 500 years : In 1961, after years of failed talks with the Salazar regime in Portugal, Nehru finally decided to exercise the military option and physically evict the Portuguese from Goa, Daman & Diu. This was in stark contrast to the peaceful and amicable departure of the British in 1947 and the French in 1956 and while western capitals were harsh to India’s stand, this event earned Nehru even more accolades within India.
The Chinese Debacle : Although Pancha Sila (Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence) was the basis of the 1954 Sino-Indian border treaty, in later years, Nehru's foreign policy suffered through increasing Chinese assertiveness over border disputes and Nehru's decision to grant political asylum to the 14th Dalai Lama. Nehru presumed his good equation with Mao Zedong (India was amongst the first countries to recognize the People’s republic and propose its entry into the UN) meant that the Chinese would not resort to military force and deployed 43 Indian forward posts in the un-inhabited Aksai Chin region bordering Leh & Ladakh without adequate military force to back up the claims. The Chinese launched a swift assault and overran Indian positions across most of the border from Aksai Chin to the north-east quickly withdrawing to pre-war borders when it became apparent the Americans were about to get involved upon Nehru’s urgent talks with John Kennedy

The Final Years and Nehruvian Legacy
In the immediate months following the Sino-Indian war of 1962, Nehru’s health progressively worsened, until finally he had a heart attack and passed away in 1964. Many attribute this to his chagrin over the turn of events with China. However, Nehru left an indelible mark on India’s psyche, from the belief in a modern secular parliamentary democracy to industrialization and even the license-raj. Although opposed to his daughter’s entry into politics, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty would go on to become the most powerful in India till this day.  Nehru’s belief that science was of utmost importance even in a starving country led to the establishment of professional Institutions which have now allowed Indians and India to increasingly become successful in a globalized setting. His impeccable sense of style has resulted in the sherwani which he often wore now referred to as the Nehru Jacket. His emphasis on the future generation was honored with his birthday declared as Children’s Day
Fun Fact: First commemorative coin of Independent India. Only personality to be commemorated twice on a coin (although the RBI has also been commemorated on two seperate occasions). According to Indian/Hindu custom, one would not normally publicly commemorate a death (anniversary). However, as Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi died whilst still in office, coins in their honour have been issued as an exception.
Read WoC discussion on Re1 die variety here :
Extract of audio Tryst with Destiny:

Full Speech Tryst With Destiny:
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 01:17:08 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2011, 08:09:01 AM »

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world. As early as 1911, the Government of India set up the Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) with the specific objective of sponsoring and coordinating medical research in the country. It was redesignated in 1949 as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with considerably expanded scope of functions.
The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Council's research priorities coincide with the National health priorities such as control and management of communicable diseases, fertility control, maternal and child health, control of nutritional disorders, developing alternative strategies for health care delivery, containment within safety limits of environmental and occupational health problems; research on major non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, blindness, diabetes and other metabolic and haematological disorders; mental health research and drug research (including traditional remedies). The Governing Body of the Council is presided over by the Union Health Minister. It is assisted in scientific and technical matters by a Scientific Advisory Board comprising eminent experts in different biomedical disciplines. The Board, in its turn, is assisted by a series of Scientific Advisory Groups, Scientific Advidsory Committees, Expert Groups, Task Forces, Steering Committees etc. which evaluate and monitor different research activities of the Council. The Council promotes biomedical research in the country through intramural as well as extramural research. Over the decades, the base of extramural research and also its strategies have been expanded by the Council.

Fun Fact: Read WoC discussion here

~ Redacted from
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 07:33:27 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2011, 12:42:50 PM »
INDIRA GANDHI 1917-1984 (1985)

19 Nov is Indira Gandhi's Birthday. Love her, hate her; but you cannot ignore her!

~ I don't mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die today every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation. (said the night before she was assassinated)

Early Years: In 1941, despite her father’s protests, Indira married Feroze Gandhy. a rising star in the Congress’ youth wing and a future MP from the Rae Bareilly constituency. However, marital problems and Feroze’s death in 1960 drew Indira close to her father. Indira’s prominence in independent India’s political process began with her election as Congress President in 1959 despite Nehru’s initial reluctance. She later went on to hold a cabinet portfolio as minister of information and broadcasting in Shastri's government. The Syndicate (an unofficial council of party elders) selected her as prime minister when Shastri died in 1966 even though her eligibility was challenged by Morarji Desai, a veteran nationalist and long-time aspirant to that office. The Congress "bosses" were apparently looking for a leading figure acceptable to the masses, who could command general support during the next general election but who would also acquiesce to their guidance.

First term as Prime Minister: Hardly had Indira taken up office than she encountered a series of problems that defied easy solutions: Mizo tribal uprisings in the northeast; famine, labor unrest, and misery among the poor in the wake of rupee devaluation; and agitation in Punjab for linguistic and religious separatism. Following her election in 1967 and seeking to eradicate poverty, Mrs. Gandhi pursued a vigorous policy in 1969 of land reform and placed a ceiling on personal income, private property, and corporate profits (the beginning of the licence-raj). She also nationalized the major banks, a bold step amidst a growing rift between herself and the party elders. The Congress expelled her for "indiscipline" on November 12, 1969, an action that split the party into two factions: the Congress (O)--for Organisation--under Desai, and the Congress (R)--for Requisition--under Gandhi. She continued as prime minister with support from communists, Sikhs, and regional parties. 

Electoral legitimacy and finding her inner Iron Lady: Indira campaigned fiercely on the platform "Garibi Hatao" (Get Rid of Poverty) during the fifth general election in March 1971, and the Congress (R) gained a large majority in Parliament. In August 1971, Gandhi signed the twenty-year Treaty of Friendship with the Soviet Union due to Nixon’s decision to fully back Pakistan and deploy a US naval fleet in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate India thus pushing India into the Soviet Block and diluting the Non-aligned Movement philosophy. India's decisive victory over Pakistan over the East Pakistan conundrum in December 1971, her insistence that the 10 million refugees from Bangladesh be sent back to their country and the signing of the Shimla accord with ZA Bhutto (that changed the Kashmir question into a purely bilateral issue) generated a national surge in her popularity, later confirmed by her party's gains in state elections in 1972. She had firmly established herself at the pinnacle of power, overcoming challenges from the Congress (O), the Supreme Court, and the state chief ministers in the early 1970s. The more solidified her monopoly of power became, the more egregious was her intolerance of any criticism. As head of her party and the government, Gandhi nominated and removed chief ministers at will and frequently reshuffled the portfolios of her own cabinet members. Ignoring their obligations to their constituencies, party members competed with each other in parading their loyalty to Gandhi, whose personal approval alone seemed crucial to their survival.  However, neither Gandhi's consolidation of power, nor her imperious style of administration and rhetoric of radical reforms was enough to meet the deepening economic crisis spawned by the enormous cost of the 1971 war.

A dark period in India’s democratic evolution: Both Gandhi's office and character came under severe tests, beginning with railroad employee strikes, national civil disobedience advocated by J.P. Narayan, defeat of her party in Gujarat by the Janata Morcha Coalition, an all-party no-confidence motion in Parliament, and, finally, a writ issued by the Allahabad High Court invalidating her 1971 election and making her ineligible to occupy her seat for six years.  What had once seemed a remote possibility took place on June 25, 1975: the president declared an Emergency and the government suspended civil rights and invoked censorship. Because the nation's president, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (1974-77), and Gandhi's own party members in Parliament were amenable to her personal influence, Gandhi had little trouble in pushing through amendments to the constitution that exonerated her from any culpability, declaring President's Rule in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu where anti-Indira parties ruled, and jailing thousands of her opponents. In her need to trust and confide in someone during this extremely trying period, she deferred to her younger son, Sanjay, who became an enthusiastic advocate of the Emergency. Under his watchful eyes, forced sterilization as a means of birth control was imposed on the poor, increased numbers of urban squatters and slum dwellers in Delhi were evicted in the name of beautification projects, and disgruntled workers were either disciplined or their wages frozen.

Down but not out: The Reign of Terror, as some called it, continued until January 18, 1977, when Gandhi suddenly relaxed the Emergency, announced the next general election in March, and released her opponents from prison. With elections only two months away, both J.P. Narayan and Morarji Desai reactivated the multiparty front, which campaigned as the Janata Party and rode anti-Emergency sentiment to secure a clear majority in the Lok Sabha. Desai became India's fourth prime minister (1977-79), but his government, from its inception, became notorious for its factionalism and furious internal competition. The Janata government restored freedom and democracy, but its inability to effect sound reforms or ameliorate poverty left people disillusioned. As a result, some allies abandoned the coalition and new elections were announced in January 1980.

Final term and dark clouds ahead: Gandhi and her party, renamed Congress (I)--I for Indira--campaigned on the slogan "Elect a Government That Works!" and regained power. Unlike during the Emergency, when India registered significant economic and industrial progress, Gandhi's return to power was hindered by a series of woes and tragedies, beginning with Sanjay's death in June 1980 while attempting to perform stunts in his private airplane. Secessionist forces in Punjab and in the northeast and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in December 1979 consumed her energy. She began to involve the armed forces in resolving violent domestic conflicts between 1980 and 1984. In May 1984, Sikh extremists occupied the Golden Temple in Amritsar (the most holy shrine of the Sikh faith), converting it into a fortress for armed militants. Gandhi responded in early June by launching Operation Bluestar. Tanks rolled in and by the end, hundreds of soldiers, insurgents, and civilians had been killed or wounded besides the temple complex itself being nearly destroyed. Guarding against further challenges to her power, she removed the chief ministers of Jammu & Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh just months before her assassination by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984 (who she insisted be retained despite intelligence warnings). The news of Indira Gandhi's assassination plunged New Delhi and other parts of India into anti-Sikh riots for three days with some congress party workers actively encouraging the mobs. Several thousand innocent Sikh citizens were killed, women raped and their houses and businesses burnt to the ground.

~ Redacted from

Fun Fact: First woman to be commemorated on a Republic of India coin. First Rs5 coin issued in India.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 01:14:52 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #43 on: November 22, 2011, 07:48:26 AM »

Mukherjee initially started out as an advocate in the Calcutta High Court in 1924 before becoming the University of Calcutta's Vice-Chancellor in 1934 (a position his father had previously held). His first prominent stint in politics occurred in 1939-40 when he was elected to the Legislative Council of Bengal as a congress candidate, though he sooned resigned as part of the congress' boycott movement. However, he subsequently got elected as an independent candidate and went on to hold the Finance Ministry portfolio of Bengal Province in 1941-42. He quickly founded the Hindu Mahasabha in 1944 with the express aim of politically uniting Hindus on a religious platform, and as President of the forum, styled himself as a spokesperson for Hindu causes following the Muslim League's demand for (often unreasonable) special treatment and rights for Indian Muslims. Mukherjee was initially opposed to partition; but he believed that Hindus could not live in a Muslim-dominated state and as a result of the communal riots of 1946-47, turned into a strong proponent of the partition of Bengal. Following Mahatma Gandhi's assassination by Nathuram Ghodse, who was believed to be a member of the Hindu Mahasabha, the group was banned and Mukherjee distanced himself from the organisation he created. Following independence, Mukherjee was inducted into the National Cabinet as Minister for Industry & Supply. However, he resigned in April 1950 following friction between him and various congress leaders on what he perceived as muslim appeasement policies. He went on to set up the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1951 and became a vocal critic of government policy on Kashmir and minority rights besides favouring the introduction of a uniform civil code based on Hindu principles. Mukherjee visited J&K in 1953 and went on a hunger strike to demand  the abrogation article 370 of the Constituion that allowed J&K a special status within the Indian union (eg. Non-Kashmiris cannot buy land in J&K although Kashmiris can do so throughout India). He was arrested and died while still in custody. No inquiry was carried out and the exact details of his death remain shrouded in mystery and conspiracy. Along with Veer Savarkar and others, he is regarded as one of the god-fathers of Hindutva politics.
Read more :
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:52:40 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2011, 03:43:06 PM »

On 28 January 1950, two days after India became a sovereign democratic republic; the Supreme Court came into being and replaced the Federal Court of India as well as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The inauguration took place in the Chamber of Princes in the Parliament building from where it held court until acquiring its present premises in 1958. The Court has since delivered more than 24,000 reported judgments.
The Supreme Court has original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction under Articles 32, 131-144 of the Constitution. Original jurisdiction pertains to hearing on disputes between the central and one or more state governments or between state governments. Appellate jurisdiction relates to civil and/or criminal cases referred by the various high courts that deal with fundamental and/or constitutional laws. Finally the Supreme Court has special advisory jurisdiction in matters specifically referred to it by the President of India under Article 143 of the Constitution or relevant sections of various acts.
The Constitution of India originally provisioned for a Chief Justice and 7 lower-ranking Judges leaving it to Parliament to increase this number. In the early years, a full bench of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases presented before them. As the work of the Court increased and cases began to accumulate, Parliament increased the number of Judges to its current strength of 31. As the number of the Judges has increased, they sat in smaller Benches of two and three (referred to as a Division Bench)—coming together in larger Benches of 5 and more only when required (referred to as a Constitutional Bench) to settle fundamental questions of law. The President must appoint judges in consultation with the Supreme Court and appointments are generally made on the basis of seniority thereby forestalling political preference. A Judge of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except by an order of the President passed after a special session in each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting.
However, the credibility of the Supreme Court came under serious question during the emergency period when several judges were transferred and those considered loyal to the PM were promoted. The Morarji Desai govt. that came to power after emergency quickly moved to restore the independence and power of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's creative and expansive interpretations of Article 21 (Life and Personal Liberty), primarily after the Emergency period, have given rise to a new jurisprudence of public interest litigation (PIL) that has vigorously promoted many important economic and social rights as well as civil and political rights traditionally protected in the Fundamental Rights chapter of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court has often taken an activist stand across a spectrum of issues from hearing and adjudicating on cases pertaining to controlling air pollution in Delhi to de-criminalising a person’s homosexual status (but not the act itself). As a result, the judiciary has often found itself at logger-heads with the legislative branch.

Fun Fact: First time that the Ashoka Lion graces both sides of a modern Indian coin.

Official Website: :
Some landmark cases & commentary :
A list of important PILs :
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 05:27:22 AM by paisepagal »