Chennai: The release of two commemorative coins of Rs 100 and Rs 5 denominations by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami marked the 102nd anniversary of AIADMK founder and former CM MGR in the city on Thursday.

Both the CM and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who presented a picture of unity, released the coins, issued to mark the birth centenary of the late matinee idol-turned politician M. G. Ramachandran, who is popularly known as MGR. The commemorative coins were released at a function held at the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University complex here. The coins bear the image of MGR and contain the inscription ‘DR. M.G. Ramachandran Birth Centenary.’

A 66-feet wide and 52-feet high “Dr MGR Centenary Arch,” constructed on the arterial Kamarajar road, off the famous Marina beach here, was also unveiled to mark the occasion.

The iconic leader who broke away from the DMK in 1972 owing to differences with the then party chief late M. Karunanidhi, had floated the AIADMK. He captured power in 1977 and ruled the State for ten years without a break till his death. Three-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MGR was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1988.

Palaniswami and  Panneerselvam, who are the joint coordinator and coordinator of the AIADMK, were accompanied by their cabinet colleagues and other senior party leaders in garlanding the statues of MGR and late CM J. Jayalalithaa at the party headquarters in the city where hundreds of party cadres also gathered. Sweets were distributed to the party workers on the occasion.

The state government had organised MGR centenary celebrations for a year in all the districts, for a year beginning at Madurai on June 30, 2017. The valedictory was held here on September 30 last year.

Currency that would be detectable to visually impaired is really a matter of concern. In India, banks do not provide a special currency for those who cannot see, which is why the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to file response to a plea seeking to make all currency and the digital means of banking transactions accessible to the visually impaired.

Good quality of services are assured in the developed countries, including America and United Kingdom, where there is a small section of visually impaired people are living.

What does the plea say?

The plea was filed by Blind Graduates Forum of India through advocate Ila Haldia.

It is now with a division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao, who issued the notice to the Central government

Therefore, the forum’s counsel has sought direction to lay down standards for the design of banknotes and coins and make all forms of physical currency and the digital means of transactions accessible to the visually impaired.

The forum has also requested the court to issue a direction to stop the circulation of the inaccessible physical currency and withdraw all such inaccessible physical currency in a phased manner.

The forum has requested the court to stop the circulation of the inaccessible physical currency and withdraw all such inaccessible physical currency in a phased manner.

Changes to be made in currency

  • In order to make bank notes accessible to visually impaired people, notes and coins will be designed accordingly
  • All forms of physical currency and the digital means of transactions will be made accessible to them
  • Further, the ATMs and net banking services will be made accessible to the visually impaired
  • Also, they will be given technological solutions viable for the visually impaired and compliance of such accessibility standards.

Why we should think about the blind?

According to Global Data on Visual Impairment report by WHO (2010), India has the second largest visually impaired people, i.e. 118 million.

Also, it is a great matter of concern for countries across the globe, for people with disabilities are the world’s largest and fastest-growing minority group.

India is said to have the maximum number of blind people in the world.

According to media reports, of the 37 million people across the globe who are blind, over 15 million are in India.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 9 enables persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and also gives them access to facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and rural areas.

Additionally, Article 12 states “Parties shall take all appropriate and effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and to have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, and shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not arbitrarily deprived of their property.”

Where does India stand?

With the boom of technology, the concept of Digital India opened doors for visually impaired people.

The apps on social media works on voice recognition

Also, these technological innovations include screen readers, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) devices, magnifiers, etc.

However, these needs to be fused with banks, making it easier for the blind people in every field.

The gigantic Da Ke Ding, an almost 3,000-year-old bronze tripod, is one of the centerpieces of the Shanghai Museum.

The national treasure is displayed in the bronze gallery on the first floor.

Ding cauldrons, the round ones on three legs and the rectangular ones on four, have two facing handles and were used in ancestral rituals.

Ding symbolized authority, power and status, especially from the Xia Dynasty (c. 2070-1600 BC) to the Warring States Period (476-221 BC).

In the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC), there was a strict rule governing the number of ding that a person was authorized to own.

Emperors had a privilege to own nine ding whilst feudal lords were allowed to have seven, ministers five and scholars three.

The owner of Da Ke Ding was Ke who was a “Shan Fu,” literally chef, in charge of the meals of King Xiao of Zhou.

So the bronze tripod is also called Shan Fu Ke Ding. However, Ke was much more than a chef: He also served as a high-ranking official highly regarded by the king.

Ke was in charge of sacrificial ceremonies, etiquette, and publicizing the king’s orders.

Seven smaller bronze cauldrons, a set of bianzhong consisting of six bronze bells, two xu — bronze food containers — and a bo — a bronze percussion instrument — all owned by Ke were unearthed together in Rencun Village, Fufeng County in Shaanxi Province in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The treasure of the Da Ke Ding

The treasure of the Da Ke Ding

Both the rim and the legs of the Da Ke Ding were cast with taotie motifs, which is commonly found on Chinese ritual bronze vessels from the Shang (1600-1046 BC) and the Zhou dynasties. Taotie, described as one of the “four evil creatures of the world” in the “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” is a mythological figure in Chinese legend, representing greed.

Many experts believe that the ferocious look of the taotie motif created a sense of mystique and stateliness, which made the public stand in awe of the owners and their dominance.

The body of the bronze tripod was engraved with wave patterns and the handles with dragons.

Inside the tripod, 290 Chinese characters are inscribed in two paragraphs and 28 lines. The inscription documents the achievements of Ke’s grandfather and the admiration for his noble virtues in the first paragraph, and the rewards, including lands, slaves and clothes, granted by the king in the second paragraph.

The inscription not only offers important evidence of the land grant system, the practices and official positions of the Western Zhou period (1046-771 BC)but also had a great impact on the calligraphy and seal cutting.

Da Ke Ding is known as one of the “Three Treasures within Four Seas” along with Da Yu Ding and Mao Gong Ding, which are exhibited in the National Museum of China in Beijing and the Palace Museum in Taipei.

All the three bronze tripods were excavated in the late Qing Dynasty.

Both Da Ke Ding and Da Yu Ding were collected by the same man, Pan Zuyin (1830-90), a politician, scholar and dedicated collector of antiques especially ritual bronzes.

Da Yu Ding was sent by Zuo Zongtang (1812-85), a Chinese statesman and military leader of the late Qing Dynasty, to Pan as a gift.

Spending a large sum of money, Pan purchased Da Ke Ding from Ke Shaotai from Tianjin.

His collection was kept safe in his hometown Suzhou in Jiangsu Province.

The treasure of the Da Ke Ding

The treasure of the Da Ke Ding

After the death of Pan Zuyin, his brother Pan Zunian inherited the collection.

Pan Dayu (1906-2007) married into the Pan family at the age of 18. Tragically, her husband died only three months after their marriage. Before he died, he reminded Pan that she must protect the bronze tripods.

With the outbreak of the war of resistance against Japanese invasion in the 1930s, Pan asked two carpenters to make several wooden boxes which were used to store the family’s treasures. The boxes containing the Da Ke Ding and the Da Yu Ding were buried.

During the war, Japanese robbers pillaged her house seven times but still couldn’t find the treasures.

The wooden cases rotted away seven years later. Unearthing the two bronze tripods, Pan hid them in a room until the end of the Chinese civil war.

In July 1951, Pan wrote a letter donating the two cauldrons to the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Administration of Cultural Relics.

In return, the commission awarded her cash, which was refused by Pan, and a citation, which hung on her bedroom wall for 50 years.

In 1952, the two national treasures were exhibited in the Shanghai Museum. In 1959, Da Yu Ding was moved to Beijing. To celebrate the centenary of Pan’s birth, a special exhibition displaying the Da Ke Ding and the Da Yu Ding together was held in 2004.

Looking at her two old “family members” carefully, Pan said: “Very good, nothing changes. I have found a nice family for them.” Pan passed away in Suzhou in 2007. Her legacy and spirit live on and her name is on the wall of the Shanghai Museum.