The life and legacy of Indian independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi will be commemorated on a British special collectors’ coin for the first time, U.K. Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak announced Thursday.
The round coin, which features India’s national flower, the lotus, and a famous quote from Gandhi stating “My life is my message,” is part of the Royal Mint’s collection to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali.
The announcement marks the first time the man known for his non-violent protests for Indian independence will be commemorated on an official U.K. coin.
“As a practicing Hindu, I am proud to unveil this coin during Diwali,” Sunak said in a statement. “Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the movement for Indian independence and it is fantastic to have a U.K. coin commemorating his remarkable life for the first time.” The 5-pound coin will be made in gold and silver, and has legal tender status, although it is not designed for general circulation. It will be on sale from Thursday to coincide with Diwali, along with 1g (0.035 oz) and 5g (0.18 oz) gold bars and the U.K.’s first gold bar depicting Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.
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Sunak commissioned a new “Diversity Built Britain” 50-penny coin last year as part of a campaign to fairly represent minority communities’ contributions across all walks of life. Around 10 million of the coins celebrating Britain’s diverse history went into circulation in October 2020.