Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student…
The British currency is updated periodically, but the last changes were made roughly a decade ago, and so its time for a change. The United Kingdom has a great history of powerful South Asians that have made a significant impact. To honor such individuals, there is a campaign afoot to have them featured on the British currency.
This will be the first time that Black, Asian, and ethnic minority figures will be highlighted through currency. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is “keen to support” the campaign proposal that recommends individuals of color, such as Noor Inayat Khan, to be minted on coins and banknotes.
Khan is a World War II British spy and one of only four women to receive the George Cross, the second-highest award within the United Kingdom honoring heroism. Khan served the Special Operations Executive and was the first female wireless operator to be sent to France to aid in the French Resistance during WWII. She was betrayed, captured, and executed at a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 at the age of 30. She was awarded the George Cross posthumously for her hand in providing vital information. Check out the recently released trailer of “A Call To Spy” featuring Radhika Apte as Noor Inayat Khan to know more about her.
The first Indian and Gurkha soldiers are also up for consideration to be honored on the currency. Gurkha refers to units of Nepalese soldiers who were a part of the British army. These Indian and Gurkha soldiers were known to be the toughest and most fearless. They also received the Victoria Cross, the highest level of honor in the United Kingdom for bravery and heroism.
This initiative is being led by a former Conservative party parliamentary candidate, Zehra Zaidi. Regarding her “Banknotes of Color” campaign, Zaidi told BBC “Who we have on our legal tender, our notes and our coins, builds into a narrative of who we think we are as a nation. People from all backgrounds helped build Britain.”
Zaidi believes this initiative will help promote unity, especially at a time like this due to the pandemic. She hopes the initiative will help British citizens recognize the heroic actions of the ethnic minorities within the health care system and help ethnic minorities feel valued in their own nation.
“We must tell the story of inclusive representation as it matters for cohesion and it matters in the narrative of who we are as a nation,” Zaidi said.
Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student who was born and raised in New York City. There is very little she loves more than Harry Potter marathons, pizza, 90s Bollywood, bagels, falooda, and her family. She hopes to use her powers for good by spreading mental health awareness and positivity in the South Asian community through her love of writing.