British activists on Tuesday sought to clear up confusion resulting from recent reports that Mahatma Gandhi was featured on a future commemorative coin, mistakenly associated with a separate campaign for the representation of ethnic minorities on UK legal tender.
The UK Treasury Department has confirmed that the Mahatma Gandhi commemorative coin has been in the works since October 2019, when former Chancellor Sajid Javid proposed it to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the father of the Indian nation. However, this is unrelated to a separate campaign for wider representation of ethnic minorities on legal tender in Britain.
“Legal tender is meant to honor those who have contributed to British society, culture or the economy, never a universal number. So, to give an example, when we got Churchill for the £ 5, you also didn’t have any suggestions for world leaders like JFK or Mandela. We have waited 400 years for legal tender representation of ethnic minorities, “said Zehra Zaidi, who heads the” We Too Built Britain “campaign, which received support from British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak over the weekend. .
“I know that Zehra Zaidi, Patrick Vernon and many others have campaigned for years for the BAMEs (black, Asian and ethnic minority) who built Britain to be recognized on legal tender,” Sunak said, by revealing that he had written to the Royal Mint to discuss how to celebrate the contributions of ethnic minorities to the British currency.
Zaidi points out that while a coin commemorating Mahatma Gandhi remains under review by the Royal Mint, Sunak’s letter specifically concerned their campaign for a “Service to the Nation” coin set to honor historical figures. British. And, their campaign is now firmly gaining ground around the honor of a conflict-related military heroine, with British Indian-born spy Noor Inayat Khan and British Jamaican Crimean War heroine Mary Seacole among the pioneers since Sunak’s official intervention last week.
“For our campaign the focus is on uniting personalities from British history. Unity is more important than ever, especially given some of the divisions that we see online, the divisions that we have been to facing post-Brexit. Let us move forward, positively, recognize all our contributions, “said Zaidi, an activist and politician of Indian origin.
Sunak writing to Lord William Waldegrave, Chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), in his capacity as Master of the Mint, the task of drafting the shortlist of these legal tender coins now falls to the Sub-Committee on Themes . .
“We are happy to work with HM (Her Majesty’s) Treasury and the Royal Mint Advisory Committee to develop themes that celebrate the diversity of modern Britain. We look forward to sharing more in due course,” said a spokesperson for the Royal Mint.
Others have also sought to rectify another misplaced idea that Mahatma Gandhi is the first ethnic minority figure to be recognized on a special coin in the UK.
“It is not entirely true that no face of an ethnic minority has ever appeared on British currency. For example, the first black officer in the British Army, Walter Tull, was featured on a special 5 coin. GBP, which was part of a limited edition of the World War I Centennial Pound Sterling Silver and 22k Gold, for the World War I Centenary. But no British ethnic minorities were listed on legal tender, or on the banknotes or coins that each of us could spend in stores, ”explains Sunder Katwala, director of integration think tank British Future.