Why Is Mahatma Gandhi’s Face on Indian Currency Notes?
Have you ever wondered, why is Mahatma Gandhi’s face on Indian Currency Notes? It was not always the case. The currency notes issued after India’s independence were designed with the image of Lion Capital of Ashoka - the National Emblem. These notes were in use until the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced the Mahatma Gandhi Series in 1996.
The question still remains, why was the Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi’s smiling face was used? Was it some normal photograph or drawing of him? The answer is ‘NO’. The photo of Bapu's face was taken from a picture of him standing with Lord Fredrick Pethick Lawrence. The picture-perfect photo of Mahatma Gandhi was taken by an unknown photographer in 1946 in front of Rashtrapati Bhavan when he was smiling at someone after delivering the speech.
The actual reason of picking up Bapu's face on currency notes is unknown. But many believe that due to the rich diversity of the country, Gandhiji was picked as the symbolism, while a few others cited the worldwide acclamation for the film ‘Gandhi’ is the reason behind it. RBI says it previous notes had inanimate objects and could be forged easily, but the one with face are difficult to forge.
In his speech in Lok Sabha in 2014, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely explained, “A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) panel has decided against the inclusion of any other national leader's image on banknotes saying that no other personality could better represent the ethos of the country than Mahatma Gandhi.”