Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom, has unveiled a ‘Diversity Coin’ of 50 pence on 17 October 2020, to celebrate the diverse history of Britain and to recognize the profound contribution minority communities have made to the shared history of the country. The coin carries a rare and brilliant message: ‘Diversity Built Britain’. The coin echoes the ‘commitment of the government to building a fairer society for all’ and a ‘fair representation of the contribution from all ethnic groups and walks of life’ to that effect.
The historic event was a wise and great gesture on the part of the government in recognizing and following up the campaign ‘We too built Britain’, which has been working for the fair representation of the contribution of minority communities across all walks of life. It may be noted that a great number of the minority groups are from South Asia, including India, who made Britain their home. It is also planned that the above coin will be the beginning of the series, in which Mahatma Gandhi will be the first non-white to be featured on the British currency coin. The coin features a geodome that represents a ‘community of connection and strength’, with ‘each section working together to build something greater’.
The scheme of the British government is a gleaming paradigm in itself, a paradigm of unity, perhaps in the entire history of the world, illustrating a ‘leadership with a difference’, edifyingly so. It is a proof positive for the refined sense of ethics in the elected government of Britain to have contained all ethnic groups and to have recognized duly their share of making the country what it is, without even the least degree of bias or considerations of superior and inferior, great and small or major and minor. It is also crystal clear proof that politicians have the capacity for rising beyond the street levels and leading the country to towering, global and reputable ideals.
It is interesting to note that the Chancellor who launched the coin is of Indian origin. Sunil Chopra was the mayor of the London Borough of Southwark in 2014-2015, and deputy mayor in 2013-2014, the first Indian-origin person to hold the prestigious office. There are hundreds of persons in various countries in the west, like USA, Canada and Australia, who profusely enjoy the goodwill, esteem and support of the respective countries and their people. Kamala Harris, whose mother is Indian by birth, is now the vice-president elect of the USA.
Diversity has been the hallmark of Indian society from time immemorial. India never tires of speaking at the top of its voice that ‘unity in diversity’ is another word for India. It could certainly be observed that there have been several instances of unbiased good sense in India from the political, governmental and administrative quarters in the interests of the country. All the same, discrimination, division, high-handedness and utilitarian ways have been having their sway in our country, to proportions much beyond imagination.
Dr M. D. Thomas is the Founder-Director of Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, New Delhi. A harmony and peace activist, his area of expertise covers constitutional values, human rights and education. Equally conversant in English, Hindi and other Indian languages, he contributes articles to several periodicals and dailies in India.