Currency started in India around the 6th century BCE during the Mahajanapada period when punch-marked coins made of silver were used as a medium of exchange. These coins featured various symbols and inscriptions representing the issuing authority.
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Currency started in India around the 6th century BCE during the Mahajanapada period when punch-marked coins made of silver were used as a medium of exchange. These coins featured various symbols and inscriptions representing the issuing authority. The introduction of currency in India marked a significant milestone in the economic history of the country, facilitating trade and commerce at both regional and international levels.
To delve deeper into the topic, let’s explore some interesting facts about the early currency in India:
Punch-marked Coins: The punch-marked coins used in ancient India were typically made of silver and had unique symbols or marks punched onto them. These symbols represented various monarchy, trade guilds, or religious institutions, asserting their authority and credibility.
Regional Variations: Different regions in ancient India issued their own punch-marked coins, leading to a wide range of designs and symbols. This regional diversity reflects the complex political and economic landscape of the time.
Weight-Based System: The value of punch-marked coins was determined by their weight, following a weight-based system rather than denominations. Merchants would evaluate the weight and purity of the coins during transactions.
Cowries as Currency: Before the advent of punch-marked coins, cowrie shells were widely used as a medium of exchange in certain regions of India. Cowrie shells were easily accessible and served as a simple form of currency in day-to-day transactions.
Influence of Greek and Persian Coins: As trade connections expanded, Indian currency was influenced by Greek and Persian coins. Indo-Greek coins, for example, featured bilingual inscriptions in Greek and a local Indian language, exemplifying cultural and economic exchanges.
To further illustrate the importance of currency in shaping economies, British writer George Bernard Shaw once said, “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” This quote emphasizes the instrumental role of currency in facilitating economic activities and driving progress.
Here is a table showcasing some examples of symbols found on ancient Indian punch-marked coins:
|Six-Armed Symbol||Religious motif|
|Bull||Trade guild association|
|Tree||Nature or fertility deity|
|Elephant||Symbol of power and authority|
|Crescent Moon and River||Specific locality or region|
|Cowrie Shell||Predecessor to punch-marked coins|
Overall, the introduction of currency in ancient India revolutionized the means of exchange and fostered economic growth. The evolution of punch-marked coins and their regional variations exemplify the diverse socio-economic fabric prevalent at that time. This early development laid the foundation for the intricate monetary systems we have today.
See related video
The video discusses the history of Indian currency, starting with the introduction of the term “rupaya” in the 16th century by Sher Shah Suri. The first printed note was issued by the Bank of Hindustan in 1770, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was established in 1935. The RBI issued the first 5 rupee note in 1938, and since then, various denominations of notes and coins have been introduced with different designs and materials. In 2016, the 1000 and 500 rupee notes were demonetized and replaced with new 500 and 2000 rupee notes. The video provides a more detailed timeline of the history and evolution of Indian currency.
Further answers can be found here
The first paper currency note, i.e. the 10 rupees’ note was introduced by the Government of India in the year 1861. In the following years, many notes of different denominations were introduced. All these notes were issued by the Government of India.
In 1861, the Government of India introduced its first paper money: ₹ 10 note in 1864, ₹ 5 note in 1872, ₹ 10,000 note in 1899, ₹ 100 note in 1900, ₹ 50 note in 1905, ₹ 500 note in 1907 and ₹ 1,000 note in 1909.
The first paper currency note, i.e. the 10 rupees’ note was introduced by the Government of India in the year 1861.
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The basic unit of currency was the Indian rupee, which was itself divided into annas (16 annas to a rupee) and pice (the old spelling of paisa – 64 pice to a rupee).
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