Sunday 2 October 2011

Redesigning the currency

Today’s the birth anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi – yes, that Gandhi, the so-called Father of the Nation. Now those of you who have been reading me for a while are aware that I have no great love for Gandhi; I feel he was a political hack whose contribution to India’s independence has been grossly overrated. Be that as it may, he was personally honest – to the extent that, as Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister Sarojini Naidu quipped, it “cost a fortune to keep him in poverty.” So nowadays his face is all over Indian currency notes of denomination one hundred rupees and up.

As anyone who’s read me for a while also knows, India’s incredible levels of corruption are another of my trigger topics – corruption involving the transfer of uncounted billions of rupees, all in five hundred or thousand rupee notes with Gandhi’s face on them.

Now, assuming those who claim to venerate Gandhi as the Father of the Nation are being serious about that, the worst possible insult they could offer him is having currency notes stamped with his visage being handed around in illegal transactions. Since there’s, of course, no question of corruption actually ending – the ruling classes can’t have their funding endangered – the only viable solution is to remove Gandhi from the currency note and substitute something else. Something, let us say, more representative of the Indian reality.

Some time ago I suggested – not quite facetiously – a new national animal for India. Something quite in keeping with the mindset of those in power. I think it would be a lovely replacement for MK Gandhi on the currency, and avoid insulting the man as well.

Therefore, let’s hear it for the new currency design, featuring the...housefly


  1. Oh, you liberals and your disdain for money! Money is fantastic measure of the worth of a life. Look at the fuss that's being made about Steve Jobs right now.

    I like Gandhi. I think he was largely a fake, but he represents some good ideas in the abstract (as long as you're not a woman, in which case he is sort of a horrible jerk).

    Anyway, I like the fly idea, and think it should catch on internationally. Not sure if there's any way to make it clear that the fly is carrying a disease of some sort, but that would be appropriate...

  2. why not put your face on currency.

    why do you underrate someone's effort? and you dont live in the same timeline as gandhi, so you have no idea about him. whatever your opinion is, it is simply biased based on what you might have read somewhere. gandhi alone didnt bring independence. it was an effort by crores of people, but led by gandhi.

    trying to increase the visitors for your blog by such cheap posts itself tell what kind of person you are.

    1. ...says the person without the moral courage to identify him or herself.

  3. Hey Bill,if you are saying that gandhi was a political hack,then who was the real "Father of India".and why did RSS had him killed if he was such a small personality.

    1. If you want my personal opinion (please understand that this is only my personal opinion) if there was anyone who can be called the Father of the Nation (independence wise) it was Adolf Hitler. Not that old Adolf gave a fig about India - in fact he despised Indians - but he devastated the British Empire to the extent that it became economically impossible to hold on to a colonial empire overseas. It's hardly a coincidence that not just India, but other countries were all given independence by Britain starting from the late forties to the early sixties. About the only two places Britain actually attempted to hold on to - Kenya and Rhodesia - also happened to be places where the British were still making money.

      What did Gandhi actually do? During the crucial 1942-5 period, he and the rest of the Congress were all locked up as a result of the so-called Quit India Movement, which did not actually get anyone to quit India. By the time he came out of jail he was marginalised and irrelevant. Not just Jinnah, but his own partymen had stopped listening to him. I am convinced that if he had not been killed, he'd have become a complete nonentity in the last years of his life. It was his murder which saved him.

      Why did the RSS kill him? To a very large extent it was blind hate. The RSS did not (as far as I know it still does not) accept the existence of Pakistan. Though Gandhi had opposed partition and proposed handing over the government to the Muslim League as a means of [reserving unity (this was rejected by Nehru and Patel, who were far more the fathers of Pakistan than Jinnah was), publicly he said not a word. Since all through the 1920s and 30s on it was Gandhi who had controlled the Congress, it was he who was still the public face of the party and hated for the creation of Pakistan. To this day a lot of Indians despise Gandhi. He's hardly the revered figure the official story would have him be.


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