2 rupee, water for life
The food and agriculture organization or the F.A.O. celebrates the world food day every year on 16th October, starting from 1945. The organization has themes for each year, and the theme for 1994 was water for life, recognizing the value of water in our lives which is so easily overlooked simply because water is so abundantly available , that too for a negiligible amount of money. But it has to be realized that we cannot keep on using and polluting water indiscriminately without even a second thought. Water may comprise 70% of the planet, but fresh water is in limited supply so it has to be treasured. Unmindful pumping out the ground water can cause water table depletion and that can have some dire consequences in the long run. So, the Indian government decided to mint the above coin in an effort to educate the people regarding the importance and the value of water.
2 rupee, 150 years of railways
This coin was minted on the occasion of the completion of 150 years of the Indian railways since its inception on April 16, 1853. The 150th year was marked by year long celebrations and was capped off by unveiling the railway mascot, Bholu the elephant, which is also shown on the obverse of this coin. The elephant was chosen as a mascot because elephants carry load, and are not aggressive. Thus the mascot keeps in line with the projected "big, friendly and helpful" image of the Indian railways.
History of Indian railways: The railway network was laid in India by the British to intermesh the economies of the two countries. The building of railways in India brought about unintended as well as hoped for consequences in economic, political and military front. The new railways tied the the different parts of India together more closely than ever before.
There were Indian merchants , both in Calcutta and Bombay who took an interest in founding of the railways. The most prominent of these was a remarkable Bengali merchant Prince Dwarkanath Tagore , grandfather of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. Dwarkanath's firm Carr, Tagore & Company, is reported to have offered in 1844, to raise one-third of the capital required for a railway from Calcutta northwest to the coalfields above Burdwan. After Dwarkanath's premature death a few years later the other Indian businessmen played only a passive role. The conception, promotion and launching of India's railways were all British. ( Daniel Thorner 1955)
The Railway Age dawned in India on 16th. April 1853, when the first train ran from Bombay to Thane, a distance of 21 miles(33.81 Km.) For some years before that the idea of building railways in India had taken concrete shape with the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. The East India Company had obtained a foothold in India as a trading company, but gradually lost most of its privileges it had enjoyed as an instrument of commerce. It had , however been made responsible for the governance of India under the supervision of a Court of Directors in London. The final authority lay , of course , with the British Cabinet, who acted on the advice of its special Board of \control for Indian Affairs. There was a Governor General at Fort William in Calcutta, having superintending authority over the administration of India.
The first proposals for construction of railways in India were presented in 1844 to East India Company in London by, (a) East Indian Railway Company headed by R.McDonald Stephenson, and (b) Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company.
George Stephenson the great British Locomotive inventor was one the first Directors of GIPR and his son Robert Stephenson was appointed as the consulting engineer based at London.
Both E.I.R. and G.I.P.R were incorporated in England for the purpose of constructing railway lines in Calcutta and Bombay presidencies respectively. Though GIPR company was formed in 1844. George Stephenson could not see his Locomotives run on Indian soil as he died in 1848.
Lord Hardinge was the Governor General of India at this point of time. He considered the proposals from political, military and commercial point of view and thought that Court Of Directors of East India Company should liberally give assistance to private capitalists, willing to make railways in India , without waiting for proof that the construction of railways in India should yield reasonable profit. The Court of Directors in their suggestion that the first attempt should be made on a limited scale due to some difficultiesn like
1. Periodical rains and inundations;
2. The continued action of violent winds, and influence of a vertical sun;
3. The ravages of insects and vermin upon timber and earth work;
4. The destructive effect of spontaneous vegetation of Underwood upon earth and brick work;
5. The unenclosed and unprotected tracts of the country though which railroads would pass;
6. The difficulty and expenses of securing the services of competent and trustworthy engineers.
Inspite of all the difficulties, and whatever may the reason be for the British building the railways, this was one good work that the British did in India that proved immensely beneficial for us in the long run.
2 rupee, Sri Aurobindo
On the reverse, we can see the figure of Sri Aurobindo within the circumscribing lettering "Sri Aurobindo all life is yoga", which is also written in Hindi. Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education and in 1890 went up to King's College, Cambridge. Here he stood in the first class in the Classical Tripos and also passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India.
After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. He was the first political leader in India to openly put forward, in his journal Bande Mataram, the ideal of complete independence for the country. Prosecuted twice for sedition and once for conspiracy, he was released each time for lack of evidence.
Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realizations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Pondicherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realisation that not only liberates man's consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.