Author Topic: Information: Personalities & Events on Indian coins  (Read 118340 times)

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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2011, 12:16:38 PM »

6 Dec is Ambedkar Parinirvana. Its also the 20th anniversary of the infamous Babri Masjid demolition. Not one to dwell on the negative, i will talk about the architect of the Indian constitution, someone who commands near god-like respect from certain sections of society..and evidently so IMHO

"My final words of advice to you are educate, agitate and organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can loose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality"

Born to the Mahar Caste of "untouchables", Bhimrao was fortunate to receive an education as his father was a subedhar in the Indian army and as a result could enroll in a military run school. However, unofficially, teachers would separate lower caste students from their higher caste peers, often serving them food in seperate canteens and even restricting access to water of lower caste students. Discrimination would continue to follow Ambedkar as he enrolled in Elphinstone College, the first dalit to do so and then graduate in Political science from Bombay University in 1912. Bhimrao obtained a scholarship from the Gaikwad of Baroda for his outstanding academic record and used the money to study further in the US and Europe from where he would attained a D.Sc from University of London and a PhD from Columbia for his research in law, economics and political science. He returned to India in 1917 to serve as the Defence Secretary of the Gaikwad but would soon resign to take up a professorship at Sydneham College.
Ambedkar's first brush with politics came about when he was invited to testify before the Southborough Committee which was tasked with creating the Government of India Act 1919. Ambedkar argued for the creation of separate electorates for the lower castes and minorities and would repeat this demand at the Simon commission in 1925 although the Congress boycotted the commission. In 1932, Ambedkar sucessfully pushed for the inclusion of seperate electorates for the dalits during the Second Round Table Conference in London, setting off a direct confrontation with Gandhi who opposed seperate electorates for dalits (but accepted for religious minorities) and went on a fast from Yerawada Central Jail, Poona. With the looming possibility of sectarian violence against dalits, Ambedkar was coerced from several quarters to drop his initial demands in return for a specified number of reserved seats for dalits. By 1927, Ambedkar had already launched several movements that fought for equal rights for the dalits to enter temples, drink water from common wells and even ceremoniously burning the casteist excerpts of the Manusmriti. In 1936, Ambedkar founded the Independent Labour Party, which won 15 seats in the 1937 elections to the Central Legislative Assembly and served on the Defence Advisory Committee and the Viceroy's Executive Council as minister for labour. With India's independence and the newly formed congress govt under Nehru, Ambedkar was invited to join the cabinet as India's first Law Minister and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Constitution of India. However, he would resign in 1951 after the Hindu Code Bill which he drafted and that sought to give equal rights to women and lower castes was stalled in parliament despite Nehru's personal support. Although he contested independently in 1952 to the Lok Sabha and was defeated, he was soon appointed as a member to the Rajya Sabha which he would remain until his death in 1956. Ambedkar was fascinated with Buddhist teaching all his life and travelled to Ceylon, Nepal and Burma in the 1950s. Under the tutelage of a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, Hammalawa Saddhatissa, Ambedkar organised a formal conversion public ceremony for himself and his supporters in Nagpur on 14 October 1956. Accepting the Three Refuges and Five Precepts as per the Theravada tradition, Ambedkar completed his own conversion and proceeded to convert an estimated three to five hundred thousand people, the single largest conversion ceremony in history. Ambedkar's health rapidly faded in 1955 due to illnesses associated with diabetes and compounded by his incresaing embitterment with the political situation at the time. Within a few days of penning what would be his last manuscript, The Buddha and his Dhamma, Ambedkar passed away in his sleep on 6 dec 1956. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1990. :
Photos, quotes & online Books :
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 01:18:49 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #46 on: December 14, 2011, 12:58:43 PM »

The Cellular Jail is a powerful symbol of the most brutal aspects of British colonial rule. Although the prison complex itself was constructed between 1896 and 1906, the British had been using the Andaman Islands as a prison in the immediate aftermath of the uprising of 1857. Shortly after the rebellion was crushed, the British sent thousands of mutineers to the gallows, hung them up from trees, or tied them to cannons and blew them up. Those who survived were exiled for life to the Andamans to sever their connections with their families and their country. The first 200 inmates were transported to the islands under the custody of the jailer David Barry and Major James Pattison Walker, a military doctor who had been the warden of Agra Prison. The remoteness of the islands allowed the British to unquestioningly exploit the prisoners into chain gangs to construct prisons, buildings and harbour facilities which resulted in many deaths. With the growing independence movement, the number of prisoners sent to the Andamans grew exponentially and the need for a high-security prison was felt. The newly-constructed Cellular Jail had seven wings, at the centre of which a tower served as the intersection and was used by guards to keep watch on the inmates. The wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. A large bell was kept in the tower to raise the alarm in any eventuality. Each of the seven wings had three stories. There were no dormitories and a total of 693 cells. Each cell was 13.5x7.5 feet in size with a ventilator located at a height of three metres. The name, "cellular jail", derived from the solitary cells which prevented any prisoner from communicating with other inmates. Most prisoners of the Cellular Jail were independence activists including Dr. Diwan Singh Kalepani, Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Batukeshwar Dutt, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and many others. Hunger strikes by the inmates during the early 1930s called attention to the inhumane conditions of their imprisonment. The government decided to repatriate the political prisoners from the Cellular Jail in 1937-38. In 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Andaman Islands and as a result the Cellular Jail became home to British prisoners instead. During this period, Subhash Chandra Bose visited the islands from where he hoisted the Azad Hind Flag for the first time on Indian soil. Two out of the seven wings of the Jail were demolished during the Japanese regime. In 1945, the British resumed control with the end of WWII. Another two wings of the jail were demolished after India achieved independence leading to protests from several former prisoners and political leaders who saw it the obliteration of tangible evidence of their persecution. The remaining three wings and the central tower were therefore converted into a National Memorial in 1969. The Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, with 500 beds and 40 resident doctors, was set up in the premises of the Cellular Jail in 1963. The centenary of the jail's completion was marked on 10 March 2006.

A little bit on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands: The Islands, a union territory of India since 1956, are located to the south east of India with Indira Point deemed as India’s most southerly land mass 150km away from Sumatra. The islands’ 700 thousand strong population is governed from Port Blair and includes mostly settlers who came during & after the British Raj. The indigenous Andamanese tribes now only number a few hundred with the Jawara and the Sentinelese still maintaining their isolation from other Indians. The Nicobaris number in the few thousands (genetically unrelated to the Andamanese) and include the Shompen. The earliest recordings about these islands date from Tanjore inscriptions that suggest the islands were used by Raja Chola I (1014 to 1042 CE) to launch raids on the Sriwijiya Empire in present day Sumatra. The earliest European colonization attempts were made by Denmark through the erstwhile Danish East India Company in 1755 who eventually sold the islands to the British in 1869. The economy of the islands is mainly based on agriculture, small scale industries including fisheries and tourism. Many of the islands are off-limits to civilians as they serve as naval bases of the Indian Navy or as a means of protection to aboriginal tribes.

Fun fact: The special 2 coin set pictured below was not made available to the general public via the mints on Cellular Jail: on the Islands:

« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 01:21:04 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2012, 09:22:14 AM »
SANT DNYANESHWAR 1274-1296 (1999)

Also known as Jnanadeva, Dnyaneshwar was the second of four siblings born to a Brahmin family in Apegaon, present-day Maharashtra. His father, Vitthal had studied the Vedas and sought to be initiated into sannyas (hermitage & meditation) under the tutelage of his guru Ramananda Swami. However, Vitthal was forced to return to his family once his guru found out that Vitthal was a married man. Consequently, the Brahmin community excommunicated the entire family since Vitthal had defiled the sannyas tradition through deception. In a vain attempt to have their children accepted back into the community, Vitthal and his wife Rukhmini ended their lives by jumping into the waters at the sacred confluence of the Ganga & Yamuna near Prayag (present-day Allahabad). The now-orphaned children grew up on alms and later approached the Brahmin community elders themselves. Their argument with the brahmins earned the children fame and respect due to their righteousness, virtue, intelligence, knowledge and politeness and were eventually accepted on condition they remain celibate. Navrutti, the eldest child who was 10 years old at the time, was initiated into the Nath tradition while Dnyaneshwar and his younger siblings became disciples of Navrutti. Together, they learnt and mastered the philosophy and techniques of kundalini yoga. The children moved to Nevasa in Ahmednagar district where Navrutti instructed Dynaneshwar to write a commentary on the Bhagwad Gita and give discourses to the people. There, Dynaneshwar met other contemporary saints such as Sant Namdev and Chokha Mahar. The Dnyaneshwari was written down by Sacchidananandbaba from these discourses. By the time the commentary was complete, Dnyaneshwar was only 15 years old. Considered masterpieces of Marathi literature, the Dnyaneshwari's 18 chapters were composed in a form known as "ovi". Through these works, sacred knowledge locked for millennia in Sanskrit was now made accessible to common people through the Prakrit (Marathi) language. Dynaneshwar’s commentary also formed the basis for other books such as the Amrutanubhav which dealt with Advaita Siddhanta (Non Dualism), Haripath (chanting god’s name to reach salvation) and around 1000 abhanga (philosophical couplets). After having composed Amritanubhava, Dnyaneshwar made a pilgrimage to northern India with Namdev and other saints and soon expressed his intention to enter into a state of Samadhi (Meditation and fasting to death) at Alandi as he felt his life’s mission was complete. Influenced by their brother’s decision and out of respect for his chosen path, Nivrutti, Sopandev and Muktabai soon followed suit a year later.

Fun Fact: Three lion varieties (15mm, 14mm & 13mm) exist. The 13mm variety can only be found in the Proof/Unc set issued by Calcutta Mint.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 06:19:52 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2012, 07:21:40 AM »

Endearingly called “Deshbandhu” (Friend of the Nation), Chittaranjan Das was born in 1870 in Calcutta and pursued his education at the London Missionary Society's Institution at Bhowanipore (Calcutta). While at the Presidency College, Das was a leading figure of the Student's Association and considered Bankim Chandra and Surendranath Banerjea as his political mentors. Upon graduation and after a failed attempt at the Indian Civil Services exam in London, Das eventually joined the Inner Temple and was called to the Bar in 1892. In 1893-94, Das returned to India enrolling himself as a Barrister of the Calcutta High Court and within a few short years served as a defense advocate in many high-profile political cases such as the Alipore Bomb case in 1908 in which he successfully defended Aurobindo Ghose , the Editor of the 'Bande Mataram' and the Dacca Conspiracy case 1910-11. In 1917, Das was invited to preside over the Bengal Provincial Conference of the Congress held at Bhowanipore. His advent into politics took place at a crucial moment, playing a significant role in the controversy over Annie Besant’s election as President of the Congress for its Calcutta Session. During this period he also led agitations against the Government policy of internment and deportation under the Defence of India Act. In 1920, at a special session of the Congress held at Calcutta, Gandhi announced his programme of Non-Cooperation. Although Das agreed in principle, he opposed the boycott of the legislative assemblies, instead advocating that the congress should participate and obstruct legislative business from within. However, his proposals were rejected and Das accepted Gandhi’s lead while renouncing his now large legal practice. Das took an active lead in raising the Congress Volunteer’s Organisation which ensured a successful boycott of the Prince of Wales visit to Calcutta in 1921. Das was arrested and sentenced to six months' imprisonment as a result. After his release in 1922, he was elected President for the Congress Session at Gaya and proposed "Non-Cooperation from within the Councils" again. However, the proposal was rejected and Das resigned the president-ship of the Congress. Thereafter, he organised the Swarajya Party within the Congress in collaboration with Motilal Nehru, the Ali brothers, Ajmal Khan, V. J. Patel, Pratap Guha Roy and others. Through the efforts of the Swarajists, Maulana Azad was elected President of the Congress Special Session at Delhi, during which the programme of Council-Entry was approved. The Swarajya Party eventually became the defacto legislative wing of the congress. Das was elected the first Mayor of the Calcutta Corporation following the victory of the Swarajists in the election of that organisation in 1924 and was reelected for the next term as well.
Das believed in non-violent and constitutional methods towards independence and stressed the need of constructive work in villages. A champion of national education and vernacular medium, he felt that the masses should be properly educated to participate in the nationalist movement. Das also made his mark as a poet and an essayist. His religious and social outlook was liberal. A believer in women's emancipation, he supported the spread of female education, widow re-marriage and inter-caste marriage. A few years before his death in 1925, Das willed his sprawling estate to the foundation of a hospital for women, today known as Chittaranjan Seva Sadan
~ redacted from
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 06:20:32 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #49 on: January 09, 2012, 08:28:30 AM »
100 YEARS CIVIL AVIATION INDIA 1911-2011 (2011)

Commercial aviation in India began on 18 Feb 1911 when Frenchman Henri Piquet set a world record by flying the world’s first *official air mail using an airplane from Allahabad to Naini, a distance of 8 miles carrying 6500 letters & Postcards. The first domestic air route between Karachi and Delhi was opened in December 1912 by the Indian State Air Services in collaboration with Imperial Airways, UK as an extension of London-Karachi flight of Imperial Airways. By 1932, JRD Tata launched the first Indian-owned airlines christened TATA Airlines and piloted the first flight himself. In 1946, TATA Airlines was re-named Air India and with the Air Corporations Act 1953 was nationalized and merged with 8 other private airlines, thus making air travel in India a government monopoly (under Air India for International routes & Indian Airlines for domestic routes). As a result, air travel became expensive and elitist due to the inefficient nature of the sector. In 1994, in line with the govt’s new liberalization policy, the 1953 act was repealed and an “open skies” policy introduced which facilitated the entry of new private Indian airline companies as well as foreign airlines to operate flights within India. Foreign equity investment in Indian-owned airline companies is still restricted though the govt. has recently proposed removing FDI caps. Moreover, the govt has allowed the Airports Authority of India (which is entrusted to supervise air travel infrastructure) to auction management and development of airports to private players in an attempt to improve Airport Infrastructure. The GMR group and the GVK group have been especially instrumental in setting up world class facilities in Delhi, Bangalore & Hyderabad and immensely improving the Mumbai Airport. Overall, the Airports authority of India manages 115 airports which include 11 international airports and 23 civil enclaves. The introduction of no-frill airlines such as Spice jet, Indigo and Deccan Airways (now merged with Jet Airways) over the last few years has reduced the average air-fare dramatically and along with overall improved air travel infrastructure has ensured that the annual number of passengers has grown to well over 100 million in 2010-11 from ~37 million in 1998-99. Of these 100 million passengers, Mumbai & Delhi handled more than 50% of the traffic (each at ~30 million passengers annually). With the current global economic turmoil and the soaring cost of fuel, the airline industry has undergone shakeout and consolidation much as in the rest of the world. However, the Indian air travel sector has seen an average annual growth rate of 15% over the last decade, one of the fastest anywhere in the world and yet one of the major still-untapped markets globally (considering that less than 10% of the population has flown till now).

*With thanks to Figleaf for indirectly prodding me to dig deeper, it appears a certain Fred Wiseman also claims this title, though there is some confusion as his flight lasted 20 minutes although his flight went on for two days from 17 Feb to 18 Feb 1911. The only thing clear is that his was not an officially sanctioned event

Fun Fact: First commemorative coin to carry the Rupee symbol. Read WoC discussion here
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 07:23:23 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #50 on: January 11, 2012, 05:25:21 PM »

Aurobindo Ghose, Aravinda Ghosh, Arvind G. Known by many names, but the man made his mark in the freedom movement and left an even greater indelible legacy on india's spiritual and civilisational evolution.
I have consciously avoided talking about the basic tenets of Aurobindo's philosophy as this is out of the scope of my post. You are welcome to read more from the wiki link at the bottom of the post

Although born in Rangapur (in present-day West Bengal), Aurobindo spent most of his formative years in the UK as his father insisted that Aurobindo and his siblings get an English education free of any Indian cultural influences. As a result, Aurobindo first studied at the Loreto Convent, Darjeeling, moving on to St. Pauls School and finally to King’s College in Cambridge. Under pressure from his father to join the Indian Civil Services, Aurobindo attempted and passed the written test, but eventually decided not to present himself at the horse riding examination and was thereby disqualified.
However, the Gaekwad of Baroda who was travelling through London at the time offered Aurobindo a post in the State’s Survey & Settlements department. Aurobindo thus returned to India in 1893 and later on joined the Baroda Secretariat where he would write speeches for the Gaekwad. It was at this time that Aurobindo started learning about Indian culture, philosophy and languages including his mother tongue Bengali. However, these pursuits lead to lack of punctuality at work and he was soon transferred to Baroda College as a professor of French. By now, Aurobindo had become politically active and covertly established links with Tilak, Sister Nivedita, Jatindra Nath Banerjee and others.
Aurobindo attended the Benares session of the Congress 1905 in the backdrop of the recent partition of Bengal. Inspired by the outpouring of resentment towards the govt., Aurobindo plunged himself into politics, leading the swarajists within the Congress along with Tilak that would cause of split within the organization during the Surat Session of 1907. His arrest and acquittal for printing seditious material in Bande Mataram further consolidated his position as the leader of the aggressive nationalists. He was arrested again in May 1908 in connection with the Alipore Bomb Case but was acquitted (thanks to a robust defence by CR Das) and released after a year of isolated incarceration. Although Aurobindo had developed a fascination for yoga and spiritual philosophy since his days working for the Gaekwad, it was his year in solitary confinement that allowed him to take the next step and completely embrace his spiritual rather than political side. However, under constant threat of further imprisonment, Aurobindo finally made the decision to move permanently to the then French colony of Pondicherry (near Madras) in 1910.
In Pondicherry, after four years of concentrated yoga, Aurobindo sought to explain his vision through the launch of Arya, a monthly issue that lasted for six years and carried his writings such as The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on The Gita etc. Thereafter, Aurobindo's main literary output was his voluminous correspondence with his disciples. Many were brief comments made in the margins of his disciple's notebooks in answer to their questions and reports of their spiritual practice—others extended to several pages of carefully composed explanations of practical aspects of his teachings. In the late 30’s Sri Aurobindo resumed work on a poem he had started earlier—he continued to expand and revise this poem for the rest of his life. It became perhaps his greatest literary achievement, Savitri, an epic spiritual poem in blank verse of approximately 24,000 lines based on the Mahabharata.
During his time in Pondicherry, Aurobindo developed a close spiritual connection with Mirra Richard (b.Alfassa), a Parisian whom Aurobindo considered his intellectual equal who he reverently referred to as The Mother. After his death on 5 December 1950, The Mother was entrusted to take his vision forward, setting up the Auroville Ashram and many other institutions besides working for the amalgamation of the French colonies into the Indian Union. She was also instrumental in declaring that Pondicherry would be the official seat of Franco-Indian cultural exchange. The Auroville Ashram continues to host thousands of international citizens who seek spiritual yogic knowledge. :
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 06:35:11 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2012, 11:21:35 AM »

Was re-visiting a very nice link to Outlook magazine provided by our very own member Sanjay Kansal and decided to post this topic today

How The CAG Is Structured
Now in its 150th year, the office of the CAG has around 48,000 employees across the country. Big states have between three and five AGs, small states, only one. Vinod Rai, the 15th CAG, is assisted by five deputy CAGs.

What The CAG Does
The duties and powers of the CAG were codified by a 1971 Act of Parliament. It conducts three types of audits of public spending:
Financial Audit: To establish if acceptable accounting standards for financial reporting and disclosure have been complied with
Compliance Audit: To find out if laid-down procedures have been followed, like in defence procurements or project tenders
Performance Audit: To evaluate if programmes/projects have achieved desired objectives and provided intended benefits

What Happens After A CAG Audit
Once an audit report is placed in Parliament/state legislatures, specialised committees are constituted. At the Centre, these are the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Committee on Public Undertakings (CPU).
PAC satisfies itself that the funds were disbursed legally on the service or the purpose to which they were applied. The PAC also examines the statement of accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies.
CPU exercises similar financial control on the PSUs. It also does appraisal or evaluation of policies and programmes. Its focus is on systemic defects leading to any irregularity, and course-correction.

Some Causes Celebres
CAG Catch 1 : 2G Spectrum, 2010 : The CAG audit over a six-year period from 2003 finds loopholes in the implementation of norms, leading to DoT allocating spectrum at 2001 prices. Estimated loss to exchequer: the now-household figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Outcome: Former telecom minister A. Raja, MP Kanimozhi, telecom and real estate executives are in jail. Has raised questions on whether CAG should dwell on policy matters.
Catch 2 : Gorshkov deal, 2009 :CAG raises a stink about cost escalation in the procurement of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, and the indigenous construction of six French Scorpene subs. Navy had agreed to pay Rs 5,000 crore more for Gorshkov.
Outcome: The government was forced to respond to the public outcry and reopen both deals, along with taking a fresh look at all future acquisitions.
Catch 3 : Defence deals, 2009 : On the heels of a CBI probe into procurement, CAG finds irregularities in the award of contract, flouting of norms of agreement with overseas suppliers, lack of internal audit mechanism among others. Estimated loss: Rs 9,000 crore.
Outcome : Many CAG recommendations have been accepted, leading to better safeguards. However, defence deals remain an area of concern, with kickbacks galore.
Catch 4 : CWG, 2009 : The CAG is not an auditor on call, but was asked by then sports secretary for a concurrent audit of the Commonwealth Games. Its report to the PM, a year ahead of the event, highlights several
irregularities in the run-up to the Games.
Outcome: The probe and trial of CWG organising committee bosses, including Suresh Kalmadi, are in progress. The CAG’s audit report of the Games is to be tabled soon.
Catch 5 : Nuclear fuel, 2009 : CAG blames DAE for being lax about not using available resources for nuclear energy production. Says capacity utilisation at N-plants was brought down by 50 per cent during 2003-08, resulting in an estimated loss of Rs 6,000 crore.
Outcome: India continues to look overseas for nuclear fuel supply and for partnering its nuclear power programme, especially in the wake of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.
Catch 6 : NRHM, 2009 : CAG blows holes in government claims of improvement in health services through the National Rural Health Mission. Report reveals that 71 per cent districts in the country are not covered by the scheme due to paucity of funds.
Outcome: The government engaged more ASHAs or community health workers. More focus on rural health infrastructure development and incentivising better healthcare.
Catch 7 : NREGS, 2008 : CAG report reveals shortcomings in the implementation of the flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, leading to loss of resources without benefits accruing to target beneficiaries.
Outcome: Union rural development ministry working with states to improve implementation. CAG is using pocketbook-sized reports to spread awareness.

~redacted from

Official Website:

Fun Fact: Read WoC discussion here
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 07:31:11 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2012, 08:58:21 AM »

Shivaji was born in 1630 at the Shivneri Fort near Pune. His father, Shahaji Bhosale was a Maratha warrior & nobleman who controlled a small fiefdom from Pune, but served under the Sultanates of the Deccan (i.e. Bijapur, Golconda & Ahmednagar) in their fight against the Moghuls.  While his father was sent by the Adilshah of Bijapur to fight in the south, a young Shivaji stayed with his mother, Jijabai, who ensured his spiritual development and education while Dadaji Kondev, a trusted ally of Shahji trained Shivaji in the art of swordsmanship and war.
Taking advantage of the mêlée of battles between the Adilshah of Bijapur and the Mughals, Shivaji set about slowly capturing forts around Pune and beyond. He pioneered the art of diplomatic deception and guerilla warfare by temporarily entering into an alliance with the Mughals against the Adilshah and mounting small but potent attacks on the Adilshah’s troops. After a prolonged battle with several victories and set-backs, Shivaji managed to claim large swathes of the Adilshah’s territory and thereby the sultanate’s ammunition & riches as well.
The Mughals under Emperor Aurangzeb now identified the Maratha’s as a potential threat to their expansion in the Deccan and deeper south and entered into an alliance with the Adilshah of Bijapur. The Mughals, with their overwhelming military superiority swiftly captured large areas of Shivaji’s territories including Pune. Under the presumption that Shivaji was cornered, Emperor Aurangzeb invited him along with his son Sambaji to Agra to negotiate the terms of surrender and make Shivaji a Sardar of the Mughal court. However, in Agra, Shivaji took offence to the fact that he was made to stand behind Mughal military commanders in Aurangzeb’s court. He stormed out and was promptly arrested. However, he managed to escape with his son after a few weeks by hiding in large boxes of sweets destined for a temple (Shivaji feigned a fatal illness and requested that he make daily offerings to the local Hindu deity in Agra) and then fled to the Deccan disguised as Sadhus.
Shivaji quickly resumed his war against the Mughals and the Adilshah of Bijapur and made concrete gains especially in the southern Deccan area. Having acquired significant territory and convinced of his Kingdom’s integrity, Shivaji coronated himself as Chattrapati of the Maratha’s in Raigad in 1674. His rule was marked by an able governmental structure, freedom of religion, revival of ancient Sanskrit and Hindu traditions, the raising of a large navy to conduct trade and guard the Konkan Coast and building of Forts to secure the land frontiers. Shivaji himself has been adulated as a people’s king and for his respect for women.
After Shivaji’s death in 1680 and in the aftermath of the Mughal’s slow descent into chaos after Aurangzeb’s death, the Maratha Empire would soon grow to become one of the largest, stretching from Kandahar in the northwest, to Tamil Nadu in the south. The Empire would later be governed by Peshwas (military commanders) as a confederacy under Shivaji’s grandson Shahuji. Over time, these Peshwas declared themselves rulers of their territories and continued to persist (by accepting suzerainty of the British crown) even after their defeat in the third Anglo-Maratha war of 1818. The most famous of these Peshwas are the Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore, the Scindias (or Shindes) of Gwalior and the Bhosales of Satara, Nagpur and Kolhapur.

Fun Fact: Read a WoC discussion on die varieties here :
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 06:36:08 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #53 on: January 25, 2012, 10:54:50 AM »

15 Jan has been declared as World Tamil Day. Thought I should do a quick write-up though I'm late by 10 days

St. Thiruvalluvar was a celebrated Tamil poet & philosopher whose contribution to Tamil literature has been immortalized in the Thirukkural, a work on ethics. Historical accounts surrounding his birth are scant, though he is first mentioned in a 10th century text called Thiruvalluvarmaalai ("Thiruvalluvar's garland").  It is generally believed that the name Thiruvalluvar consists of Thiru (similar to “Mr.” in English) and Valluvar (a polite name for Valluvan, according to Tamil tradition). The name Valluvan is a common name representing a caste or occupation rather than a proper name. However, it is not known whether the author of Tirukkuṛal (Valluvan) was named after his community or vice versa. There are several claims regarding where he lived, but none of them have been verified. One legend associates him with Madurai, the ancient capital of the Pandya rulers who vigorously promoted Tamil literature. According to another he was born and lived in Mylapore, a part of present day Madras, and traveled to Madurai to submit the Thirukural for approval of the Pandyan king & the college of poets. Most historians agree that Thiruvalluvar spent at least part of his life in Madurai because it was under the Pandya rulers that many Tamil poets flourished. There is yet another school of thought that says that Valluvar was a king who ruled Valluvanadu in the hilly tracts of the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu.

A little on the Tamil Language: Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and was declared as a classical language by the government of India in 2004. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore and is spoken by significant minorities in Malaysia, Mauritius, Seychelles and La Réunion. The language has been in continuous usage from atleast 300 BC and can be divided into Old Tamil, Middle Tamil & Modern Tamil. Old Tamil is best epitomized by the use of the Tamil Brahmi script and the famous collection of secular poems known as Sangam Literature.  Besides, Old Tamil was unique in terms of the absence of a distinct present tense (there was only a past tense and a non-past tense). By 800 AD, Tamil became highly influenced by Sanskrit in terms of religious & scientific terminology and grammatical construction. The present tense was introduced and the Pallava dynasty adopted a new script derived from the Pallava Grantha script. Iraiyanar Akapporuḷ, an early treatise on love poetics, and Nannul, a 12th century grammar that became the standard grammar of literary Tamil date from the Middle Tamil era. Modern Tamil, which is more colloquial in nature, began to occur from the 13th century onwards while modern literary Tamil, based on the Nannul, still retains its Middle Tamil origins. In the early 20th century, a movement by Tamil linguistic scholars took root which demanded “purism” of the language. Since independence and with political patronage, the number of loan words from other languages has been significantly reduced and replaced with native terminology in official documentation and indeed in everyday conversation. There are various Tamil dialects, though the more famous standards are Madras Tamil, Madurai Tamil, Thanjavur Tamil, Kanyakumari Tamil, Jaffna Tamil and Batticaloa Tamil among others. Words in Tamil exist in other languages too with relatively popular examples such as catamaran (from kattumaram meaning bundled logs), coir (meaning rope), and pariah (from paraiyan meaning untouchable) on Thiruvalluvar: on Tamil language:
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 06:18:59 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2012, 09:51:30 AM »

Come this 26th January 2012 and India completes 62 years of her Republican status. While we haven't actually had a coin that commemorates the founding of the Republic of India (i.e. when our National Constitution came into effect), I think this is as good an opportunity as any to talk about events between 1947-1950 that surrounded the birth of our Republic.

British India was an amalgamation of British-Indian Provinces (ruled directly by the British crown as a result of the annexation of princely states prior to 1857) and Indian Princely States (ruled by local kings who accepted the suzerainty of the British Crown, but otherwise had varying degrees of autonomy). While it was decided which British-Indian provinces would go to the two newly formed nation-states via voting of the various state assemblies, the princely states would no longer be bound by the agreements they made with the British, implicitly implying they could join India or Pakistan or remain independent. While Pakistan under Governor-General Jinnah accepted in principle that princely states could remain independent, the Congress under Prime Minister Nehru’s leadership affirmed that all princely states within the territorial borders of the newly formed Indian state would have to accept the paramountcy of the Government of India. Nehru was of the view that not only did the existence of such disparate kingdoms threaten the unity of India, but as hereditary monarchies, they do not promise their subjects responsible democratic governments. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel & VP Menon, the country’s first Home Minister and Home Ministry secretary respectively, were tasked with amalgamating the over 500 princely states that existed at the time within and along the borders of India. Along with enthusiastic backing from Lord Mountbatten, the country’s first Governor-General who shared the Congress’s view (though he stated that kingdoms that bordered India & Pakistan had the right to choose either), the Home Ministry proceeded through diplomatic pressure to convince most princes to accede to the Indian union by signing a “Standstill” agreement (which protected the prince’s Privy Purse, titles & privileges, but transferred external affairs, communication and defense to the Central government) and the Instrument of Accession which legally declared the kingdom’s amalgamation into India.     

Conundrum of certain Princely States amalgamation into India
While some Princes such as those of Kutch, Cochin & Bikaner embraced the Indian union, others such as those of Bhopal, Jodhpur and Travancore faced pressure from their peoples and the Indian government to sign the Accession treaty. However, the rulers of Junagarh, Hyderabad and Kashmir were resolute in their insistence to remain independent.

Junagarh : The Nawab of Junagarh in disregard of Mountbatten’s advice, declaring that his state was along the coast and thus accessible to Pakistan, signed an instrument of accession with that country despite the fact that his state laid well within present-day Gujarat and that his subjects were overwhelming against unity with Pakistan. This was in direct contravention to the Congress’ stated policy on amalgamation, with India threatening military force against the Nawab. The Nawab and his family as a result fled to Pakistan. The Royal Court, now facing collapse, requested India to secure the State and a plebiscite was held in Feb 1948 which concluded Junargarh’s accession to the Union.

Hyderabad: By far, the most powerful, largest and wealthiest princely state prior to India’s Independence, Hyderabad was ruled by Nizam Osman Ali Khan and a coterie of Muslim nobility with the Ittehad-ul-muslimeen party as their principle political backer. The Nizam was adamant in his demand for an independent state and sought to establish international diplomatic relations, even requesting for UN recognition.  Throughout the state, the Razakars, a militia affiliated to the Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen began attacking any person and organization that supported accession to India and specifically targeted Hindus who formed the overwhelming majority of the state’s subjects. After negotiations between the Nizam and the Indian govt convened by Lord Mountbatten had failed, India sent it’s overwhelmingly superior military to invade the state, called Operation Polo. The conflict lasted for a few days and concluded in the unconditional surrender of the Nizam’s forces. The Nizam disavowed his complaints to foreign governments and the UN that he made prior to surrender and was formally declared as the Rajpramukh of Hyderabad. 

Kashmir: The Maharaja of Kashmir feared that if he joined India or Pakistan, various sections of his multi-religious state would revolt (though Muslims formed the population’s majority). As a result, he sought to remain independent though he was under pressure from Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the popular National Conference Party to accede to India and abdicate. Pakistan, in turn sent in militant Pathan tribesman (and army men disguised as tribesman) to create chaos in the state in order to force the issue (with the view that after India’s handling of the Junagarh issue, a plebiscite would eventually be held). Before the militants could reach Srinagar, the Maharaja called for Indian military assistance and was forced to sign the instrument of accession before India would help. The Indian military reclaimed territory west of Srinagar, however, in an inexplicable move during the winter of 1947, Nehru who until now had left Vallabhbhai Patel to ensure the integrity of the Indian state, baffled his political & military advisors by declaring a ceasefire and taking the matter to the UN Security Council. As per the terms of the Council’s resolution, The Indian army would secure the entire state upon withdrawal of the Pakistani insurgents and a UN mandated plebiscite would be held that would allow Kashmiri’s to join either India or Pakistan. However, the militants never left and the plebiscite was never held.     

Integration of the French & Portuguese colonies

French-India: An agreement between India and France under De Galle called for a plebiscite which would decide whether these enclaves remain with France or integrate into the Indian union. Between 1949 and 1954, elections were held in the various enclaves with each voting almost unanimously to join the Indian state. The French National Assembly passed a Treaty of Cession in May 1956 that officially ended French colonial presence on the sub-continent.

Portuguese-India: Portugal on the other hand sought to firm up their hold on their possessions in India even going to the extent of amending its constitution to convert the territories into Portuguese provinces in 1951. In July 1954, an uprising in Dadra & Nagar Haveli ended Portuguese Rule there. In 1961, after years of failed negotiation and in the backdrop of the Salazar regime’s brutal suppression of Angola’s freedom movement, Indian forces forcibly evicted all Portuguese presence from the western coast. Portugal officially recognized India’s sovereignty of Goa only in 1974 when a democratic revolution forced out the military junta there.   

Special relationship with Sikkim – Special no more

Sikkim, along with Nepal and Bhutan had historically enjoyed a dependency-relationship with Britain unlike other princely states of the sub-continent. While Nepal was recognized by India as de-jure independent, Bhutan continues to remain a protectorate of India. However, with Sikkim’s strategic importance in connecting India’s north-east with the rest of the country, the Indian government entered into a Standstill agreement initially and by 1950 created a full-fledged agreement with the Chogyal of Sikkim. However, the Chogyal pushed for greater independence throughout the 1960’s and shared a mutual-hate relationship with his ethnic Nepali subjects. In 1973, with anti-monarch protests spiraling out of control, Indian police and military secured the state and facilitated negotiations between the leader of the opposition and the Chogyal, the result of which was a constitutional monarchy. In April 1975, the Sikkim Assembly passed a resolution that sought full integration with India. After a referendum that saw a near unanimous pro-India vote, the Indian constitution was amended to admit Sikkim as the 22nd state of the Union.
Indian Independence Act 1947:
Traité de Cession:
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 01:28:48 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #55 on: February 18, 2012, 04:52:56 PM »

Following on from my previous post on India's political integration, I think it's only fitting that this post be dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country's first Home Minister and one of Gujurat's iconic sons of the freedom movement.


The Iron-Man of India

Although a Barrister by profession with no initial inclination towards politics, Patel, urged by his associates, stood for and won the election to become Ahmedabad’s Sanitation Commissioner in 1917. His stint there made him disillusioned with the British-India govt’s treatment of Indians and especially of the peasants in Gujarat. Thereafter he joined the Gujarat Sabha (which eventually became a state branch of the National Congress). While first skeptical and even mocking of Gandhi’s philosophies and methods of passive resistance, Patel was overwhelmed by the Mahatma’s persona at a political meeting in Godhra. Gandhi encouraged him to lead a farmer’s agitation against agricultural taxes in various districts of the Bombay Presidency (in present day Gujarat) while Gandhi himself would guide the Satyagraha movement in Champaran, Bihar. Patel successfully led this campaign, not only winning an exemption from taxes that year, but also coerced the government to scale back the rate.

By 1920, Patel had given up his practice and much of his material possessions to serve as the Gujarat Congress’ president. He would turn out to be one of the most instrumental organizers of the Civil Disobedience and Quit India movements besides one of the iconic figures of the Salt Satyagraha. In between and throughout the 20’s, he would also command massive popularity that saw him serve as Ahmedabad’s Municipal president, and under his stewardship, a massive drive to reform the electricity and school system. Patel was again called on to lead protests against discriminatory taxes in Bardoli District in 1928. With popular demonstrations and the ensuing large scale arrests, matters came to a head and the government was forced to repeal taxes and reinstate village officials who had earlier resigned in protest. This particular victory earned him a great amount of respect with colleagues and the public increasingly referring to him as “Sardar” (i.e. Chief).

The twin-arrests of Gandhi and Patel in 1932 after the failed Round Table talks brought the two men closer together. Gandhi would now consider Patel his right hand while Patel would serve as his unwavering support base. With the Congress reversing its initial boycott of assembly elections in 1934, Patel became the Party’s pre-eminent fund raiser and Chairman of its Parliamentary board, determining not only the selection of candidates, but also the party’s stance on various political and social issues. A man considered pragmatic and firm in his convictions, Patel would often clash with other leaders. At the 1936 session, he resolutely opposed the socialist charter proposed by Nehru. In 1938, he led the congress faction that opposed Bose’s call for armed resistance which eventually resulted in Bose resigning his Presidency and membership of the Congress. Patel would continue to spar with Nehru who he believed was too bent towards socialist economics and distracted from the goal of Independence.

In 1946 however, upon Gandhi’s request, Patel stepped down from the Congress Presidency in favour of Nehru thus paving the way for Nehru to become India’s first Prime Minister (although 13 of the 16 congress state units proposed Sardar Patel’s candidature).  Patel became India’s first deputy Prime Minister and then the country’s first Home Minister. On the issue of Partition, Patel, through frank discussions was able to convince senior party leaders including Gandhi of the inevitability of Pakistan. At the All India committee which called for a vote on partition, Patel stated:

“I fully appreciate the fears of our brothers from [the Muslim-majority areas]. Nobody likes the division of India and my heart is heavy. But the choice is between one division and many divisions. We must face facts. We cannot give way to emotionalism and sentimentality. The Working Committee has not acted out of fear. But I am afraid of one thing, that all our toil and hard work of these many years might go waste or prove unfruitful. My nine months in office has completely disillusioned me regarding the supposed merits of the Cabinet Mission Plan. Except for a few honourable exceptions, Muslim officials from the top down to the chaprasis are working for the League. The communal veto given to the League in the Mission Plan would have blocked India's progress at every stage. Whether we like it or not, de facto Pakistan already exists in the Punjab and Bengal. Under the circumstances I would prefer a de jure Pakistan, which may make the League more responsible. Freedom is coming. We have 75 to 80 percent of India, which we can make strong with our own genius. The League can develop the rest of the country.”

Patel represented India at the Partition Council overseeing the division of land, public assets and the military between India and the newly formed Pakistan. He successfully negotiated the accession of almost all the princely states into the union and forcefully dealt with the violence during the first weeks of partition. Vallabhbhai was criticized by a faction of the congress led by Nehru and liberal muslims such as Maulana Azad who believed Patel was eager to see muslims leave the Indian Union and uneven in his handling of incoming hindu & sikh refugees and the outgoing muslim refugees. However, with Gandhi’s solid support, Patel denied these charges and along with Nehru and Pakistani leaders, toured the various regions of the Punjab and Bengal urging for a cessation of the violence even going so far as to suppress reports of massacres of hindu and sikh minorities on the Pakistani side of the Punjab and in Karachi. The grief over Gandhi’s death hit Patel hard and he suffered a stroke two months later. Calls for his resignation for failing to protect the Mahatma only served to increase his chagrin. However, Nehru, in appreciation of Patel’s support during some of the previous government crises, publicly expressed his support for Patel. Grateful, Patel publicly dispelled any notion that he sought to be the Prime Minister.

Patel has indeed left an array of lasting legacies. Apart from creating a geographically coherent nation, he ensured that Anglo-Indians were represented in Parliament as Presidential appointees; he actively led the rebuilding of the historic Somnath temple and exhorted Gujarati Farmers to form a milk co-operative that would eventually become a thriving organization in its present avatar as Amul. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel breathed his last on 15 december 1950 at Birla House, Bombay. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1991
Fun Fact: Many Ashoka Lion varieties exist for this coin
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 05:39:40 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #56 on: April 06, 2012, 08:39:22 AM »

A bit busy these days to do a write up (which I shall re-start from June). However, once I'm done with Patel's write-up, it'll only be logically fitting to write next about his political nemisis far an enigma of the freedom movement in his own right

~ Give me blood and I will give you Freedom

Subash Chandra Bose entered into politics at a relatively young age when he joined the Bengal provincial Congress committee under the mentorship of Chittranjan Das. In 1923, he was elected as the President of All India Youth Congress and by 1927 became general secretary of the Congress Party. During the 1930’s, Bose travelled extensively throughout Europe, meeting with sympathizers in the UK, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union. Bose was particularly impressed by the disciplined and methodical approach of various European governments including the British, Nazis and the Italian Fascists (though there is no firm evidence to suggest he believed in any of their ideologies).

In 1938, on a wave of popular support within the Congress, Bose was elected the party’s President. However, his insistence that the party consider violent means of uprising and to take advantage of a weakened government during the war saw Bose clash directly with Mahatma Gandhi. As a result, Bose renounce his presidency and membership of the Congress to form his own party called the Forward Block with the aim of consolidating leftist movements and advocated armed resistance against the Imperial government. At the outbreak of WWII, Bose organized several demonstrations in Calcutta including one that campaigned for the removal of the Holwell Memorial (commemorating the Black Hole of Calcutta) from Dalhousie Square. Bose was thus put under house arrest, but managed to escape dressed in a Muslim garb sporting a long beard. Traversing through the Northwest Frontier Province and into Afghanistan, Bose reached Moscow with the help of the German Secret Service (the Abwehr). Frustrated by the lack of support for his cause from Soviet authorities, Bose sought the help of the Nazis and Italian fascists. During his three year stay in Germany, Bose raised the Azad Hind Legion under the Nazi Army composed of Indian PoWs captured in North Africa. During this time, Bose also married his Austrian secretary Emilie Schenkl who bore him a daughter, Anita Pffaf. However, Bose grew increasingly wary of the Nazi’s commitment and capabilities (as they suffered serious reversals on the eastern front), and he sought help from Imperial Japan.

Bose would travel by a German U-Boat to the Cape of Good Hope and then from there change to a Japanese submarine to reach Tokyo.  With the financial and military backing of the Japanese, Bose raised the Azad Hind Fauj in Singapore consisting of expat Indians and PoWs captured by the Japanese in South East Asia. With the British retreating from Burma, the Azad Hind Fauj fought alongside the Imperial army at Kohima & Imphal but was soon forced to retreat as the allied forces recovered lost ground. The Provisional Free India Government was set up in the Andaman Islands after the Japanese wrested it from the British in 1942 (though the Japanese were in de facto control of the islands). By 1945, the allied forces were able to push back the Japanese from much of South & East Asia. Subash Bose was en route to Japan aboard an Imperial aircraft when it developed technical problems and crashed in Formosa (present day Taiwan). Subash Bose is said to have died of severe burns within hours of being taken to hospital and his ashes were interned at the Renkoji Temple in accordance with Japanese Buddhist rites.

However, many supporters and scholars dispute that Bose indeed died in the accident and as a result, many conspiracy theories have emerged. The Indian Govt. constituted several inquiry committees to ascertain Subash Bose’s death with often contradicting and inconclusive reports. Till this day, Subash Bose remains a somewhat mysterious and enigmatic figure in the Indian freedom movement with a core following in Bengal and various parts of India.       

Fun Fact: First time an error in relation to the date has been made on a Post 1947 coin

Read a WoC discussion on the 1996 coin here and how to identify the genuine thing here
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 12:29:58 PM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2012, 01:10:43 PM »

Inaugurated on 19 March 1952 by independent India's first Finance Minister CD Deshmukh, the Alipore Mint in Kolkata took over production of indian coins, medals and other articles from the Old Silver Mint located on Strand Road. However, coins have been minted in Calcutta (under the name "Murshidabad") since 1757 when the first mint was established by the English East India Company in the old Fort Area next to the Black Hole. Thereafter, the mint was shifted to the site of the Gillet Ship Building Establishment with new machinery brought in from England in 1790, and was yet again shifted in 1829 to the Old Silver Mint.   

Many coin collectors have derided this theme in terms of the unimaginative design of the motif and the fact that the coin seems to commemorate the Mint building rather than the Institution of the Mint itself. Moreover, collectors off-late have increasingly complained of the inferior quality of buisness-stike coins as well as the relatively higher prices of Proof & UNC sets issued by the Alipore Mint as compared to those issued by the Mumbai Mint   

Fun Fact: First coin to carry face value of Rs.60
Read the WoC discussion here,_Kolkata


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #58 on: June 12, 2012, 01:48:43 PM »

The present Parliament building was initially intended to house the Council House under the authority of the viceroy until it was re-designated as the location of Constituent Assembly as per the Montague-Chelmsford reforms of 1919. Once India became a Republic, the first Parliamentary session was held here on 13 May 1952 following the first general election after the declaration of the Constitution of India.

The Indian Parliament functions in a similar manner to that of the UK and is the supreme legislating body of the country. The President of India, along with the Rajya Sabha (i.e. the Upper House also known as the Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (i.e the Lower House) constitute the three arms of the Parliament.
The Parliament meets three times a year, i.e. during the Budget Session, the Monsoon Session and the Winter Session, each lasting between 20 to 35 days. The Parliament appoints standing (i.e. permanent) committees as well as ad hoc committees to study & propose various laws in a consultative manner with the final draft presented to the Lok Sabha for debate. Once passed in the Lok Sabha, the Bill is debated in the Rajya Sabha and if passed, must receive the Presidents assent to become law. 

The maximum strength of the Lok Sabha is 552 while the Rajya Sabha is 250. The Lok Sabha is directly elected by the people with a 5 year mandate and is dissolved upon the election of a new government. However, the Rajya Sabha has a perpetual life wherein one-third of its members must face an election every 6 years on a rotational basis. The President appoints 12 members to the Upper House based on their contribution to society in the field of Arts, Science, Sports, Law etc (with the latest appointees being Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Hindi Actress Rekha). The Rajya Sabha is elected through an Electoral College system in which the members of the Lok Sabha and of the various state assemblies carry a specified number of votes.

Both houses of Parliament are designed to provide proportional representation of the populations of various states and union territories. The members of the house must each win an election on a first-past-the-post basis. In consideration of the inequities of Indian society, a quota of reserved seats has been maintained for citizens from “scheduled castes & tribes”. A similar quota of 33% has been proposed in the still pending Women’s Reservation Bill.

In recent years, the government has allowed live telecasts of the proceedings of Parliament which have had a bearing on how MPs react. While at times MPs have tended to put their best foot forward as was the case during Lok Pal debate in August 2012, other recent incidents often show MPs eagerly running to the Well of the House in a blatant attempt to disrupt parliament business. Parliament has increasingly been adjourned with fewer days of business conducted, especially in the last couple years with a weak coalition government, demanding govt. allies, and a fractured opportunistic opposition.

Although many criticize the parliamentary system as slow and unresponsive to the growing needs of a developing country, it is this same system that has shown the flexibility to accommodate various views and interests and yet maintain social stability on a national level. To a large extent, this is one of the institutions that have ensured the progressive and open character of the nation especially when juxtaposed to India’s various neighbours.

Official Website:
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 08:21:31 AM by paisepagal »


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Re: Personalities & Events on Indian coins
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2012, 11:05:53 AM »

India’s relationship with the United Nations has been a long and intimate one given that the country, although still reeling under colonialism, was one of its founding members in 1945. India played a prominent role all through the 50s and 60s as a leading member of the Non-aligned movement, highlighting global injustices and lending moral support to causes such as the apartheid policies in Southern Africa, the plight of the Palestinians, global nuclear disarmament, the anti-colonial movements across africa etc. 
In terms of physical resources, India has constantly registered among the top contributor countries for UN peace keeping forces particularly in Africa and the Middle-east. Over 55,000 Indian Military and Police personnel have served under the UN flag in 35 UN peace keeping operations under leaders such as General Thimmaya, Prem Chand, Rikliye and Satish Nambiar at different points of time. Notably, India led the UN-sanctioned operation Cactus that reinstated Maldivian President Gayoom who had been overthrown in a coup. Similarly, under the auspices of the India-Tamil-Sri Lankan peace agreement, the country sent peace keepers to Northern Sri Lanka which would end disastrously and truly expose the LTTE as an opportunistic militant-cum-terrorist force.
India’s own relationship with the UN has been a mixed one. Nehru, with what many would say was an overly optimistic and even naïve world-view, submitted to the UN Security Council to arbitrate on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, a step that muddled the issue and for which most in India deemed unnecessary given that the country was close to retrieving the entire former Kingdom at the time. Similarly, Nehru was among the PRC’s most vocal supporters in its bid to enter the UN, even going so far as to give up India’s claim to a Security Council seat in favour of the Chinese (as has been revealed through archives obtained by the Washington Post).
However, the India-UN relationship has been a mostly positive one for the world at large. Apart from giving the UN it’s first woman President in Vijay lakshmi Pandit (Nehru’s sister), the country participates in and has lead almost all UN bodies and initiatives on different occasions. Other personalities in the past include Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Dr. Radhakrishnan as Chairman of UNESCO; Rajkumari Amrit Kaur as Chairperson of WHO; Sri V.R. Sen as President of FAO; H.J. Bhaba as Chairman of Atoms for peace Commission; B.N. Rau and Nagendra Singh as Judges of the International Court of Justice. The UN, for its part, has been particularly instrumental in helping India rid itself of small pox entirely and polio for the most part and providing research and funding for agricultural development. Besides, the UN has constantly offered a platform to India to voice its concerns, from issues relating to unfair European & US domination in various economic and social areas, to helping negotiate treaties with neighbors on water-sharing and boundary issues.
The country has served six times on the Security Council as a non permanent member. As one of the leading global democracies and rising powers, India has in the last decade, made clear its claim to a seat at the high table of International decision-making, teaming up with Germany, Brazil and Japan to demand jointly for each of themselves a Security Council seat. India has got public backing from all permanent members apart from China.

Fun Fact: A (wide) lion variety exists
UN in India: