Once considered the jewel of the British Empire, by the end of the Second World War, it was clear that there was little appetite in Britain for further conflict, and popular opinion had moved heavily toward the Independence of India, with a general realisation that the time of empires was rapidly fading. After rushed discussions and planning, India was partitioned along broadly religious lines and became, along with Muslim Pakistan, an independent nation.
There had been a push for decades to remove the British from the country, but also concerns on how this would be achieved without violence. One of those that helped to mitigate the worst of it was Mahatma Gandhi, who had championed a campaign of peaceful transition. He visited many troubled areas, calming tensions, and arguing for a fair distribution of resources. He was assassinated by a fellow Hindu, who believed Gandhi was too accommodating with Pakistan. Today, his legacy is less clear and some aspects of his life are questioned, but it’s certainly fair to say that without his influence, India’s early years may have been considerably bloodier than they were.
The Royal Mint has, for the first time, released a coin in honour of the Indian icon, timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence from the UK. The design by Heena Glover centres around their national flower, the Lotus, depicted in outlined form, around which is inscribed one of Gandhi’s most famous quotes, ‘My Life is my Message’. It’s a symbolic rather than realistic depiction, but if you do want the latter, then CIT have you covered with a superb depiction of the man as part of its ‘Revolutionaries’ series.
Two precious metal versions, both an ounce in weight. Just 185 of the 0.9999 gold coins will be struck, with the 0.999 silver coin also capped at a surprisingly low 2,510 pieces. Both are boxed with a C.O.A. in the traditional Royal Mint style, of course, and both are available now. There’s a base-metal version with an unlimited mintage also on offer for just £13.00.