Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Indian Coins history

India’s history is vast and extensive and it is impossible to talk about Indian coinage without delving into its history. India’s historic coinage can be dated back to some 2600 odd years. A trail of India’s intricate coins can be seen with the coming of rulers like Alexander the Great, the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British. It is important to note, that old Indian coins are not just odd pieces of metal, they are our links to the past which help us understand our rich culture and heritage better. A hint at the multi-cultural forces that shaped this country is witnessed from coins dating back to Kanishka, featuring Iranian goddesses and Zoroastrian ideas.
Indian 25 paisa coin
Most kings and dynasties which ruled over India would otherwise be totally unknown, are today made famous and given a place in history only because they have been inscribed on their coins. A very apt example is the Indo-Greeks and other nomadic kingdoms and dynasties, which existed in Afghanistan and North-West India (the Pakistan today). Paradoxically, this has made the study of Indian history and coinage a very interesting and challenging proposition.

Ever since Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa have been discovered, more than 500 seals have been exposed with fine representation of animal figures and pictorial writing which has not yet been deciphered. Trade between Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and Harappa is evident with the finding of two seals. With the coming of the British East India Company, minting of coins began from mid 17th century.
India became independent on 15th August, 1947 and left a legacy of non-decimal coinage. In 1982 a 2 Rupee coin was introduced as an experiment to replace the 2 rupee note. The note ceased circulation till 1990 after which it was minted every year. India has issued several types of coins commemorating great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, Chittaranjan Das, Chhatrapati Shivaji and many others. The coins circulating today are the 25 paise, 50 paise, Rs. 1, Rs. 2, and Rs. 5.

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