UK May Soon Release Commemorative Coins On Mahatma Gandhi: Here Are Other Countries Which Did The Same

As confirmed by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee of the United Kingdom, Mahatma Gandhi may soon make an appearance on the British currency and become the first coloured person to do so. Here are some other countries that released commemorative coins on the leader in the past.
Vaibhavi Mishra
By: Vaibhavi Mishra Updated: Aug 04, 2020 18:10 IST
UK May Soon Release Commemorative Coins On Mahatma Gandhi: Here Are Other Countries Which Did The Same

Mahatma Gandhi may soon become the first non-white person to appear on the British currency. As a part of the campaign “We Too Built Britain”, the United Kingdom has decided to celebrate the contributions of coloured people including Indian-origin British spy Noor Inayat Khan and Jamaican British nurse Mary Seacole. 

The campaign is a brainchild of Zehra Zaidi, the Director for Education at US-based Development Alternatives Incorporated, and is receiving full-blown support of Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the exchequer. “For generations, ethnic minority groups have fought and died for this country we have built together; taught our children, nursed the sick, cared for the elderly; and through their enterprising spirit have started some of our most exciting and dynamic businesses, creating jobs and driving growth,” says Sunak whose has officially taken the proposal to Royal Mint Advisory Committee.

The proposal was initially put on table for celebrating the 150th birth year of Mahatma Gandhi in October last year, and was acknowledged by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid. 

Besides the United Kingdom, many other countries also have had commemorated the leader with coins. Here are some of them. 

South Africa 

Mahatma Gandhi had received his education from England and later moved to South Africa for practising law. It was during his stay here when he started propagating the philosophy of Satyagraha and took a stand against class, caste, and ethnic discrimination. Finally, Gandhi left South Africa in 1914 for India, after being approached by G.K Gokhale to carry forward the movement in India. Commemorating his stay and achievements, South Africa released a coin with denomination of 1 South African Rand, under the series “The Life of Gandhi" last year as a part of the celebrations of Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary. The denomination has a portrait of a young Gandhi in western wear, along with his signature. The coin comes with an inscription ‘My life is my message.'


Gandhi was the pioneer of Quit India Movement (1942), an independence driven movement for urging the English to quit Indian territory and let swaraj (self-rule) be established. The movement was at the helm of Gandhi's ‘do or die' slogan. 

Niue, a Pacific island country, released a set of 5 limited edition silver coins on his birth anniversary in 2015, commemorating the movements and Gandhi's contributions to the same. The release also paid homage to his return to India from South Africa for leading the independence movement. The coin depicts an aerial view of three waves of marchers from the movement and is titled ‘The future depends on what you do today'. It also mentions the name and year of the movement towards the periphery. One of the coins in the series portrays a young Gandhi in traditional wear. 


One of the lesser known ventures of Gandhi was in Mauritius where he arrived as a matter of chance while returning from South Africa. On his arrival, Gandhi came to know about the poor living conditions of Indians settled there. Like the brilliant leader he was, Gandhi took no time in exhorting them to fight for their rights. Even after his departure, he is said to have stayed in touch with Mauritians and influenced them to voice their dissent. 

Till now, Mauritians have not forgotten Gandhi's contributions and celebrate his anniversary each year with feverish vigour. In 2015, the island nation launched a commemorative coin marking 100th year of his arrival in Mauritius, along with the Indian Government. The coin portrays bust of Gandhi facing 3/4th to the left with ‘Mahatma Gandhi' and ‘Centenary of arrival in Mauritius' towards the bottom. 

Republic of Liberia 

What came across as a powerful diplomatic move, the Republic of Liberia decided to issue a commemorative coin in 1997 to celebrate 50 years of Indian independence. A left seated profile of Mahatma Gandhi sitting in front of the UNESCO recognised heritage site Taj Mahal, along with a charkha can be seen on the front side of the coin. The 1 Liberian Dollar denomination also has inscribed ‘Indian Independence' at the top, sandwiched between 1947 and 1997, portraying the journey India had covered till then. 

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A multi-media journalist and writer, Vaibhavi views the world as one big piece of poetry. Time and again she tries to capture this poetry through words, as well as, the lens. She loves to explore the depth of human psyche, philosophy, cultures, and oceans! Carrying forward this quest for exploration she reports on various beats ranging from tourism, culture, art, social issues, business, market trends, science and environment to technology. For her, the life mantra can be summarised with the catchphrases, “Hakuna Matata” and “Carpe Diem”.