Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release a special commemorative coin on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at 4.30 pm on Wednesday. The prime minister tweeted:
At 4:30 PM today, a special tribute shall be paid to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Ji, who made pioneering contributions to popularise the teachings of Bhagwan Shri Krishna through ISKCON. To mark his 125th Jayanti, a special commemorative coin would be released.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 1, 2021
Who is Swami Prabhupada
Swami Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commonly known as the "Hare Krishna movement". Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born Abhay Charan De on 1 September, 1896, to a pious Hindu family in Calcutta. While growing up, he was part of Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement. However, later a meeting with a prominent scholar and religious leader, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, in 1922 changed him. Influenced by him, Abhay took the spiritual path and went on to introduce the English-speaking world to the teachings of Lord Krishna. He became a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in 1933 and resolved to carry out his mentor’s request and thus ISKCON was born.
Commemorative coins are issued to mark and honour particular personalities and events. They have a distinctive design with reference to the occasion for which they were issued. Many coins of this category serve as collector's items only, although some countries also issue commemorative coins for regular circulation. Vast numbers of thematic coins are continuously issued, highlighting ancient monuments or sites, historical personalities, fauna and flora, the culture and traditions of a country and much more.
A history of commemorative coins in India
The first commemorative coin series was issued back in 1964 in the honour of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It was the same year when Nehru passed away.
Interestingly, in 1969, a Mahatma Gandhi birth centenary commemorative note was released. It was the only commemorative note issue ever by the Reserve Bank of India. Since 1964 many more commemorative coins have been issued over the year. All four Indian mints, namely Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Noida, have produced commemorative coins. Commemorative coins are issued in various denominations, ranging from 5 paise to 100 rupees. The lower denomination coins are usually for general circulation and their metal composition is usually in line with the regular coins. On the other hand, the higher denominations usually contain some silver and are meant for collection purposes only.
Types of commemorative coins
There are three different kinds of commemorative coins. The regular issue coins are meant for day to day commercial use and they are issued in the same design for many years. Circulating commemorative coins are also meant for day to day commerce use, but their design will be used only for a limited time. Usually the purpose of these coins is to draw the attention of the world to a particular person or event. Non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) are commemorative coins that are still legal tender and can be used to buy goods and services. However, they are not intended for this regular use. They are actually viewed as souvenirs. Often these coins are made in silver or gold.
Commemorative coins released under Modi government
Rs 125: The PMO released a commemorative coin on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose this year.
Rs 75: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2020 released a commemorative coin of Rs 75 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Rs 350: In January 2019, Modi released a commemorative coin of Rs 350 denomination marking the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, one of the most prominent leaders of the Sikh community.
Rs 100: In December 2018 Modi launched a commemorative coin of Rs 100 in honor of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former prime minister. A commemorative coin of similar denomination was released to honour Vijaya Raje Scindia in 2020.
Notable commemorative coins in India
- Two Rupees Subhas Chandra Bose coin (1996)
— Super Coins (@SuperCoinss) September 10, 2016
- The Rs 1,000 coin issued in commemoration of 1,000 years of the Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur in 2010
Mumbai Mint issued Rs 1000 Commemorative Coin with same picture as on the Rs 5 coin. It was the first 1000 Rupees coin to be released in the Republic of India coinage coin weighs 35 gm, contains 80% silver & 20% of copper 50% of silver & 4.4 cm of perimeter. pic.twitter.com/5vy4BOD7Nq
— Mohsin Ahmed (@mohsinstats) February 5, 2020
The five rupees coin issued on the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March
Rupees five coin issued on the 150th anniversary of the first war of independence
How to buy commemorative coins
In 2006, the government took a decision to corporatise all the mints and presses. Accordingly, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), a wholly-owned Schedule ‘A’ Miniratna Category-I company of government of India, was incorporated. The management, control, maintenance and operations of the erstwhile nine production units under currency and coinage division of ministry of finance was transferred to SPMCIL.
These commemorative coins of India can be purchased directly from the mint or from online platforms of the mints or SPMCIL. Generally, ads for such booking appear in newspapers and there is a time period in which one can book such sets. Typically, bookings begin almost three-six months in advance.