Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A gift to the Royals

I'd like to tell a story about a special gift that was made shortly after World War II. Therefore I'll use this Indian share from the Jai Hind Limited company. Collectors of antique securities will see that it is a registered certificate because there is a fill-in field for the name of the holder. When a share like this is issued, the share owner has registered his name, address and other personal information with the company.

share certificate from the Jai Hind Limited company

Jai Hind Limited, ordinary shares of 10 Rupees, unissed
The company was incorporated in 1949, possibly the year when its shares were printed.
The certificate shows many tiny holes in the right margin which were caused by insects. 
(click image to enlarge) 

But, as you can see, the name of the holder is not filled in. There is also other important information missing on the certificate such as :
  • the number of shares purchased
  • the serial numbers of the shares purchased
  • the date of purchase
  • signatures from the company officers
  • a duty stamp, maybe a company seal, and possibly other features that once would have made the certificate look valuable
No doubt about it, this is an unissued share certificate. 

Yet, there is something peculiar about this share. Did you observe it too ? My attention was drawn by the name of the company, Jai Hind, not an everyday company name.

Jai Hind logo

Independent India's first postage stamp showed a flag of India with the words Jai Hind (Hindi: जय हिन्द , Bengali: জয় হিন্দ). The words were also adopted as a name for a newspaper, schools, companies, movies and much more.

It was nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose who made Jai Hind a popular Indian slogan. In 1940 India was still striving for independence from the British Empire. The authorities had placed Bose under house arrest because he had organized mass protests in Calcutta. Bose managed to escape his country and fled to Germany.

In 1943 Adolf Hitler arranged Bose a submarine to Madagaskar where he was transferred to a Japanese submarine. After his arrival in Southeast Asia, Bose organized an army from ex-Japanese war prisoners and volunteering Indian expatriates living in Malaya and Burma. His Indian National Army fought along with the Japanese Army against the British forces. Jai Hind, which means "Victory to India" or "Long live India", was one of Bose's calls to motivate his troops.

Since then Jai Hind  became a patriotic slogan that was often shouted in many Indian riots. The Bombay Mutiny of 18 February 1946 was an exemple of this. Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy had started a strike in protest against the working conditions. The revolt spreaded to other ships and shore establishments in the ports all over British India. Tram cars and property were set on fire. Europeans were insulted and injured. In some places British men and women were forced to shout "Jai Hind".

In 1947 British India was ravaged by heavy riots and killings between Hindus and Moslims, incited against each other by cries like Jai Hind. Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the non-violent independence movement, disapproved the use of the Jai Hind slogan in these situations. To him, Jai Hind did not stand for victory to Hindus, nor to Muslims. Nor did it mean triumph over the British. Gandhi said that by shouting Jai Hind one honours Mother India and thereby whishes her victory.

More than 150 bells along its margins adorn the Jai Hind Limited share shown on top.

On 15 August 1947 British India ceased to exist and was split in an independent India, for Hindus, and Pakistan, for Muslims. The day after independence, Gandhi stayed in Beliaghata, near Calcutta, with his Muslim friend, Shaheed Saheb Suhrawardy. Both slept under the same roof to show that both a Hindu and a Muslim leader could live peacefully together. Other Hindus and Muslims who saw their example started to embrace each other and shouted Jai Hind and "Hindu-Muslims! Be one". I believe that was the true meaning that Gandhi gave to the words "Jai Hind".

A few months later, the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten took place on 20 November 1947 in London. Gandhi had a memorable wedding gift for the future Queen of the United Kingdom. Lord Mountbatten, India's last Viceroy and uncle of the Princess' husband, and Lady Mountbatten gave the royal bride Gandhi's present.

It was a knitted table cloth that was woven from cotton yarn. The knitting was done by a Punjabi girl who was trained by Gandhi's grandson Kanu. The yarn was spun by Gandhi himself. The table cloth also contained a motif. The motif showed the words Jai Hind.
On his return to India, Lord Mountbatten reported to Gandhi that the Princess was extremely touched by his gift.


I can't tell you much about the company of the Jai Hind share. Is there anyone who can tell me more about this company ? 

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