UK unveils coin on Mahatma to mark Diwali

London: A new 5 pound coin to commemorate the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Available in a range of standards, including gold and silver, the special collectors’ coin was designed by Heena Glover and features an image of a lotus, India’s national flower, alongside one of Gandhi’s most famous quotes — “My life is my message”.

Building on the enduring relationship and cultural connections between the UK and India, it is the first time that Gandhi has been commemorated on an official UK coin with the final design chosen by Sunak, who is the Master of the Mint.

“This coin is a fitting tribute to an influential leader who inspired millions of people around the world,” he said.

“As a practicing Hindu, I am proud to unveil this coin during Diwali. Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the movement for Indian independence and it is fantastic to have a UK coin commemorating his remarkable life for the first time.”

The coin, which goes on sale, is part of the Royal Mint’s wider Diwali collection, which includes 1g and 5g gold bars in henna-style packaging, and the UK’s first gold bar depicting Lakshmi — the Hindu Goddess of wealth.

The 20g gold Lakshmi bar was designed in partnership with the Hindu community in South Wales, where the Royal Mint is based.

The Mint will join the celebrations at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Cardiff, where worshippers will offer prayers to goddess Lakshmi and lord Ganesha for the coming year.

Chief Customer Officer for The Royal Mint, Nicola Howell, said: “As we approach Diwali celebrations, we are delighted to unveil the first official UK coin commemorating the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. The beautiful design builds on the enduring relationship and cultural connections between the UK and India.”

The announcement comes as India is celebrating its 75th year of Independence this year. Last year, the Chancellor commissioned the new “Diversity Built Britain” 50p coin following discussion with the ‘We Too Built Britain’ campaign, which works for fair representation of minority communities’ contributions across all walks of life.

Around 10 million of the coins, which recognise and celebrate Britain’s diverse history, went into circulation in October 2020.


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