India on Wednesday is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. About 50 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi first appeared on the commemorative currency note of rupees 100. Prior to that British King's portrait was used. After reaching a consensus the then Government replaced King's portrait by Lion Capital at Sarnath in lieu of the Gandhi Portrait. The Reserve Bank in 1969 came out with a commemorative note of Rs 100 showing Mahatma Gandhi seated in the backdrop of the Sevagram Ashram.
In 1949 the then government brought out the new design Re 1 note with Ashoka Pillar. In 1953, Hindi was displayed prominently on new notes and the debate regarding the Hindi plural of Rupaya was settled in favour of Rupiye.
High denomination notes (Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000) were reintroduced in 1954. The Rs 1000 currency note displayed the motif of Tanjore Temple, Rs 5000 Gateway of India and Rs 10,000 Lion Capital, Ashoka Pillar.
These high denomination currency notes were, however, demonetised in 1978.
Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in spearheading India's independence movement. During the pre-Independence era, Gandhi infused millions of Indians with a sense of tolerance and resilience to fight any form of oppression or violence imposed by the mighty British empire. He builded India's entire freedom campaign around two of his much-revered principles 'Satyagraha' and 'Ahimsa'. While Satyagraha meant to appeal to, insistence on, or reliance on the Truth, Ahimsa was centred around imbibing non-violence as a combative tool to thwart any act of force or violence. He not only is a towering figure in India's political history but also cemented his place among leading statesmen of the world for his noble philosophy towards humanity in general.
Gandhiji's greatness lay in his simplicity towards life and high intellectual prowess. To sum up his personality in the best possible way, the great American scientist Albert Einstein had this said about the 'Naked Saint' - ‘Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.