Global Collectibles of Mahatma Gandhi Through Banknotes, Coins & Stamps book review: A museum in book form

Global Collectibles of Mahatma Gandhi Through Banknotes, Coins & Stamps book review: A museum in book form

This is clearly a labour of love as Agrawal takes us on a world tour of how various countries have commemorated the life

Raju KaneUpdated: Saturday, January 28, 2023, 10:34 PM IST
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This is clearly a labour of love as Agrawal takes us on a world tour of how various countries have commemorated the life and achievements of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi via the release of banknotes, coins and stamps.

The first 69 pages of the book are various bank notes, coins and stamps released by India celebrating the Mahatma’s life, including commemorating special days like his birth and death anniversaries, 50 years of Quit India movement, the Champaran Satyagraha and the Salt Satyagraha among others.

The rest of the 120-odd pages are devoted to showcasing collectibles from 129 different countries besides the United Nations. The countries range from tiny island nations – Antigua, Fiji, St. Kitts, and Marshall Islands, to name a few, to the big powers ranging from Russia, the United States and the UK. The countries celebrating the Mahatma’s life vary from brutal dictatorships like Cuba, North Korea, Syria, the Soviet Union and Yemen. The coins released by UK have Gandhi’s image on one side and the Queen on the obverse. Not sure what the Mahatma would have said about all of these commemorations.

That said, the compendium is a clear indication, if any was ever required, of the importance of Mahatma Gandhi’s life teachings and achievements and the esteem that the world holds him in. This is essentially a museum in book form!

But it may have been more interesting if the editors had been able to provide a context as to why some countries like Cameroon, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau and Togo, to name just a few, released multiple commemorations. At the same time, the US released only one stamp back in 1961. (The irony here is that the only American whose birthday is celebrated as a holiday for the US Federal government is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who, of course, took his inspiration civil rights movement from the Apostle of Non-Violence. George Washington’s birthday is now generally celebrated as Presidents’ Day commemorating all US presidents).

There are stories here that should have been told but are missed out.

Title: Global Collectibles of Mahatma Gandhi Through Banknotes, Coins & Stamps

Author: Sushilkumar Agrawal

Publisher: Ultra Mintage World

Price: Rs. 1,999

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