Here is a brief history of Indian rupee composed by Aparajita Sharma as an answer to “What is the history of the Indian rupee?” on Quora.
The origin of the word “rupee” is found in the Sanskrit rūpya “shaped; stamped, impressed; coin” and also from the Sanskrit word “raupya” meaning silver.
- In 712 AD, the Arabs conquered the Indian province of Sindh and brought their influence and coverage with them. By the 12th Century, Turkish Sultans of Delhi replaced the longstanding Arab designs and replaced them with Islamic calligraphy. This currency was referred to as ‘Tanka‘ and the lower valued coins, ‘Jittals‘. The Delhi Sultanate attempted to standardise this monetary system and coins were subsequently made in gold, silver and copper.
- In 1526, the Mughal period commenced, bringing forth a unified and consolidated monetary system for the entire Empire. This was heavily influenced by the Afghan Sher Shah Suri (1540 to 1545) who introduced the silver Rupayya or Rupee coin.
- The original rūpaya was a silver coin weighing 175 grains troy (about 11.34 grams). The silver coin remained in use during the Mughal period, and later during the British rule.
- The Coinage Act of 1835 provided for uniform coinage throughout the country. It was only in 1858 when the British Crown gained control of the one hundred Princely states, and subsequently ended the Mughal Empire, that the coin’s native images were replaced by portraits of the Monarch of Great Britain to indicate British Supremacy.
- In 1866, when the financial establishments collapsed, the control of paper money also shifted to the British Government. This was subsequently passed to the Mint Masters, the Accountant Generals and the Controller of Currency. In 1867, the Victoria Portrait series of bank notes was issued in honour of Queen Victoria and later many emperors followed suit.
- After gaining its independence in 1947 and becoming a republic in 1950, India’s modern Rupee reverted back to the design of the signature Rupee coin. The symbol chosen for the paper currency was the Lion Capital at Sarnath which replaced the George VI series of bank notes.
- In 1996, the Mahatma Gandhi Series of Paper notes was introduced.
We thank Aparajita for allowing us to post this article on I See India.
History of the rupee
A collection of facts about Indian Paper Money by Mr. Rezwan Razack, author of ‘The Revised Standard Reference Guide to Indian Paper Money