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Friday, July 24, 2009

Indian Five rupee coins - VII

5 rupee Lal Bahadur Shastri copper-nickel
5 rupee lal bahadur shastri copper nickelLal Bahadur Shastri was born in 1905 in Prayag. His father Sharada Prasad, a schoolteacher at the local school, passed away when Lal Bahadur was barely a year and a half. Growing up without a father forced Lal Bahadur to accept responsibility at an early age. He was sent by his uncle to Varanasi to pursue his studies.

After a short stay with a family that treated him unkindly, Lal Bahadur stayed with a teacher, Mishraji. Mishraji often sat and told stories about how India lost her freedom to the British to young Lal Bahadur. These conversations later inspired Lal Bahadur to join the struggle for Indian freedom.

At about this time Gandhiji came to Varanasi and spoke of his non-cooperation movement. Lal Bahadur took a keen interest in the growing movement and when the time came to boycott the schools, he did so by not appearing for his examinations. With just one year left for his graduation, the news was not taken well at home. Neither his Uncle nor Mishraji supported Lal Bahadur’s action, but his mother who had complete faith in him, supported his decision as long as he promised not to renege from the task later. With his mother’s blessings, he became fully involved in the non-cooperation movement. He was arrested for taking part in banned processions but released since it was his first offense. This was to be the first of many arrests for Lal Bahadur. He worked during the evenings in a khadi shop and studied while studying for the degree of Shastri (Bachelor) in Philosophy. Lal Bahadur graduated at the head of his class.

His total commitment to Gandhiji and the non-cooperation movement resulted in many jail terms. Since the Congress party was banned by the British Government, Lal Bahadur and his associates spent their time travelling around India spreading Gandhiji’s message. He was soon arrested for these activities, and jailed for seven months at an unknown location. Eighteen months later Lalita Devi was granted permission to meet her husband.

Lal Bahadur was finally released from prison in 1946. On August 15, 1947 India gained independence. Lal Bahadur was appointed Minister of Police in Nehru’s cabinet. In 1951 Jawaharlal Nehru was re-elected Prime Minister for a second term, and Lal Bahadur was appointed General Secretary of the Lok Sabha. While in Nehru’s cabinet, Lal Bahadur was entrusted with portfolios for Minister of Railways, Minister of Communications and later Home Minister. He served as Nehru’s right hand. On May 27, 1964 Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru died. May of that year Lal Bahadur Shastri became India’s second Prime Minister. His term is best known for introducing measures to make India self-sufficient in food production.

In 1965 Pakistan attacked India on the Kashmiri front and Lal Bahadur Shastri responded in kind by punching toward Lahore. In 1966 a cease-fire was issued as a result of international pressure. Lal Bahadur Shastri went to Tashkent to hold talks with Ayub Khan and an agreement was soon signed.

Lal Bahadur passed away in Tashkent before returning home. He was posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna Award.

5 Rupee, saint Thiruvalluvar
5 rupee thiruvalluvar
St. Thiruvalluvar, the author of THIRUKKURAL was born about 30 years before Jesus Christ in Mylapore, the village of peacocks (Myl in Tamil means peacock), the present day Chennai, at a time when the Tamil Land was rich in culture, vivid in its life and adventurous in its commerce. Valluvars were the priests of outcaste people at that time. Tamilians take cognizance of the birth of Thiruvalluvar as a basis of Tamil calendar according to which we are now in the year 2032 of Thiruvalluvar Aandu (Year). Thirukkural is regarded as a renowned work, eulogized as a directory of code of conduct and ethics to humanity. The revered poet not only deals with the general administration, but also codified clear-cut directions to the mankind on how they should behave and act in a social, political, religious and family circles.

Thiruvalluvar used to keep by his side, when he sat for meals, a needle and a small cup filled with water. Once, his host asked him as to why he insisted on having these two placed by the side of the plate. He said, "Food should not be wasted, even a grain is precious. Sometimes, stray grains of cooked rice or stray pieces of cooked vegetables fall off the plate or away from it. While I eat, I lift them off the floor, with the help of this needle and stir them in the water to clean them and eat them." What a great lesson this is for those who waste more, than they consume in today’s consumerist society!

As Emmons White has said, Thiruvalluvar was a kindly, liberal-minded man and his poetry is a kind of synthesis of the best moral teachings of his age. In the words of Dr. John Lazarus who has made an English translation of the Kural, “It is refreshing to think of a nation which produced so great a man and so unique a work. The morality he preached could not have grown except on an essentially moral soil.” This classical work in Tamil has been widely translated in over 60 languages of the world. Nearly 300 years ago, the Italian Jesuit missionary, Constantius Beschi (known as Veeramamunnivar in Tamil) who came to Tamil Nadu in 1710, translated the Thirukkural into Latin. Rev. G U Pope who hailed Thiruvalluvar as “the Bard of Universal Man” translated the Kural and printed the it first in English. Many European missionaries have made translations into English between 1820 and 1886. Freedom fighters and statesmen, C Rajagopalachari and VVS Iyer have also translated the Kural into English. Barring perhaps the Bible and the Koran, the Kural is the most translated work.

Erudite Tamil Poets as well as the kings of the three Tamil Kingdoms – Chera, Chola and Pandya – acknowledged the literary greatness of Thirukkural. It is said that at the time of its first presentation to the king’s court, the Pandyan king wanted its greatness to be known to his whole kingdom. He put it to test by placing the manuscript along with those of other contemporary works in a golden lotus plank and allowed it to float in the tank at the Madurai Meenakshi temple. The sanctified plank that would recognize only the masterpieces is said to have rejected all other works and retained only the Thirukkural.

People in Tamil Nadu worship Thiruvalluvar as a guru. They have erected a beautiful shrine to him and to his wife in the midst of a garden in Mylapore. It lies not far from the waves of the sea that are often referred to in his verses. Every year in the month of April, people celebrate a grand festival at the shrine. Another important memorial to the immortal saint is Valluvar Kottam in Chennai, which is shaped like a temple chariot. A life size statue of Thiruvalluvar has been installed in the tall chariot. The 133 chapters of his work have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvarkottam is said to be the largest in Asia with accommodation capacity for 4000 people. Recently, Tamil Nadu government has erected a magnificent 133-foot height statue of the saint denoting the 133 chapters in Thirukkural for tourists in the midst of sea in Kaniyakumari (Cape Comerin) at the confluence of the three seas.

While being sworn in as the president of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam said that a country needs to have the characteristics as enshrined in Thirukkural and quoted from the Kural: “ Pini inmai Selvam Vilaivinbam Emam, aniyenba Nattirku vainthu”. That is “The important elements that constitute a nation are: being disease free; wealth; high productivity; harmonious living and strong defence.” It makes deep sense in this fast-moving world. If only there is more forbearance and patience, mutual respect and understanding, the world would become a better place for all of us to live.

5 rupee: FAO
5 rupee food agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernise and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all. Its Latin motto, fiat panis, translates into English as "let there be bread". As of 8 August 2008, FAO has 191 members states along with the European Community and the Faroe Islands, which are associate members.

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