Guldmønter - Gupta -periode

Guldmønter - Gupta -periode


Almindernes brug af guldmønter i Gupta -perioden

Gupta -perioden kaldes guldalderen i det gamle Indien. Dette er muligvis ikke sandt på det økonomiske område, fordi flere byer i det nordlige Indien faldt i denne periode.

Billede høflighed: destinationinfinity.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/IMAGE_278.jpg

Men guptaerne besad en stor mængde guld, og de udstedte et stort antal guldmønter. En vigtig føydal udvikling, der dukkede op under Guptas, var tildeling af skattemæssige og administrative indrømmelser til præst og administratorer.

Praksis blev en almindelig affære. Religiøse funktionærer fik jord, skattefri for altid, og de fik tilladelse til at opkræve skatter, der kunne have gået til kejser. Det var begyndelsen på feudalismen. Om statens embedsmænd blev betalt ved tilskud af jord i Gupta -tider, er ikke klart. Overflod af guldmønter tyder på, at højere embedsmænd fortsat blev betalt kontant. Guldmønterne udstedt af Guptas blev kaldt dinarer. Regelmæssig i størrelse og vægt vises de i mange typer og undertyper. Men disse guldmønter var ikke så rene som Kushan -mønterne. Det viser, at guldmønter ikke må bruges af almindelige. Disse mønter tjente til at betale officererne i hæren og administrationen, men også til at imødekomme behovene ved salg og køb af jord.

Efter erobringen af ​​Gujarat udstedte Guptas et godt antal sølvmønter hovedsageligt til lokal udveksling. Med tilbagegang i handel og handel på grund af feudal oprettet frembragt af jordtilskud. Det er blevet nævnt af flere historikere, at almindelige mennesker brugte cowry til udveksling.

Med hensyn til begyndelsen af ​​feudalismen er der nogle tanker, der mener, at det socioøkonomiske forhold i Gupata -perioden kan siges at være tegn på begyndelsen af ​​feudalismen. Derfor er de af den opfattelse, at almindelige mennesker også brugte guldmønter udstedt af næsten hver af Gupta -kongerne.


Genopbygning af tidlig indisk historie er næppe mulig uden hjælp fra indskrift og mønter

Det største handicap i behandlingen af ​​det gamle Indiens historie, både politisk og kulturelt, er fraværet af en bestemt kronologi.

Det litterære geni i Indien, der var så frugtbart og aktivt inden for næsten alle studieretninger, blev på en eller anden måde ikke anvendt til at optegne kongeregistreringerne og staternes fremgang og fald.

Billede høflighed: maxon.net/uploads/pics/CastleRockSmoothBoulders_05.jpg

Det gamle Indien producerede ikke historikere som Herodotus og Thucydides i Grækenland eller Levy of Rome og tyrkisk historiker Al-beruni. Vi har en slags historie i Puranas. Selvom de er encyklopædiske, leverer Puranas dynastisk historie op til begyndelsen af ​​Gupta -reglen.

De nævner de steder, hvor begivenhederne fandt sted, og diskuterer undertiden deres årsager og virkninger. Udtalelser om begivenheder afgives i fremtiden, selvom de blev optaget meget efter begivenhedernes begivenhed. Således bliver inskriptioner og mønter meget vigtige for at rekonstruere den tidlige indiske historie.

Inskriptioner blev udskåret på sæler, stensøjler, klipper, kobberplader, tempelvægge og mursten eller billeder. I landet som helhed blev de tidligste indskrifter registreret på sten. Men i de tidlige århundreder af den kristne æra begyndte kobberplader at blive brugt til formålet. De tidligste inskriptioner blev skrevet på Prakrit -sprog i det 3. århundrede f.Kr. Sanskrit blev vedtaget i det andet århundrede e.Kr.

Inskriptioner begyndte at blive sammensat på regionale sprog i det 9. og 10. århundrede. De fleste indskrifter, der berører Mauryas, Post-Mauryas og Guptas historie, er blevet offentliggjort i en samling samling kaldet “Corpus Inscription Indecorum ”.

De tidligste inskriptioner findes på sælerne i Harappa tilhørende omkring 2500 f.Kr. og skrevet med piktografisk skrift, men de er ikke blevet dechiffreret. Den ældste indskrift, der hidtil er blevet dechiffreret, blev udstedt af Ashoka i det tredje århundrede f.Kr. Ashokan -inskriptionerne blev første gang dechifreret af James Prince i 1837.

Vi har forskellige typer indskrifter. Nogle formidler kongelige ordrer og beslutninger vedrørende sociale, religiøse og administrative spørgsmål til embedsmænd og mennesker generelt. Ashokan -indskrift tilhører denne kategori, andre er rutinemæssige optegnelser over tilhængere af forskellige religiøse. Stadig andre typer lovpriser egenskaberne og præstationerne for kongerne og deres personer.

Inskriptionerne indgraveret af kejsere eller konger er enten protese sammensat af domstolsforfattere eller tildelinger af jord tildelt enkeltpersoner. Blandt de prismatiske kejsere er de mest fremtrædende prasharti af Samudra Gupta indgraveret på Ashokan -søjlen i Allahabad. Dette blev udarbejdet af hans hofdigter, Harisena, Hathigumpa-Prashasti-indskriften af ​​kong Kharavela af Kalinga.

Nogle af de bemærkelsesværdige inskriptioner er Nasik -indskriften af ​​kong Gautami Balasree, Gwalior -indskriften af ​​kong Bhoja, Girnar -indskriften af ​​kong Rudradaman, Aihole -indskriften af ​​Chalukaya -kong Pulkesinll, Bhitri- og Nasik -indskrifterne af Gupta -herskeren Skandia Gupta og Deopara -indskriften af ​​Senaherskeren Vijaya Sen. Inskriptionerne, der blev brugt til tildeling af landområder, var for det meste indgraveret på kobberplader.

Disse indskrifter udover mange flere af private eller lokale officerer har givet os navne på forskellige konger, grænser for deres kongeriger og til tider nyttige datoer og spor til mange vigtige begivenheder i historien.

Således er inskriptioner fundet meget nyttige til at finde forskellige fakta om det gamle Indiens historie. Historien om Satavahana -herskere er fuldt ud baseret på deres inskriptioner. På samme måde har indskrifterne fra herskerne i Sydindien som Pallava, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Cholas og Pandayas været en stor hjælp til at finde historiske fakta om deres respektive dynastiers styre. Visse indskrifter fundet uden for Indien har også hjulpet med at finde fakta om det antikke Indiens historie. En blandt sådanne indskrifter er Bhagajakoi i Lilleasien, som blev indskrevet i 1400 f.Kr.

Undersøgelsen af ​​mønter, kaldet numismatik, betragtes som den næstvigtigste kilde til rekonstruktion af Indiens historie. Mønter findes for det meste i hamstre. Mange af disse hoards, der ikke kun indeholder indiske mønter, men også dem, der er præget i udlandet, såsom romerske mønter, er blevet opdaget i forskellige dele af landet. Mønter fra større dynastier er blevet katalogiseret og offentliggjort.

De stansede markmønter er de tidligste mønter i Indien, og de har kun symboler på dem. Disse er fundet i hele landet. Men de senere mønter nævnte navnet på konger, guder og datoer. Områderne, hvor de findes, angiver området for deres cirkulation. Dette har gjort det muligt for os at rekonstruere historien om flere herskende dynastier, især for indo-grækere. Mønter kaster også betydeligt lys over den økonomiske historie.

Nogle mønter blev udstedt af laugene og købmændene og guldsmedene med herskernes tilladelse. Dette viser, at håndværk og handel var blevet vigtigt. Mønter hjalp transaktioner i stor skala og bidrog til handel. Vi får det største antal mønter i tiden efter Maurya.

Disse var lavet af bly, potion, kobber, bronze, sølv og guld. Guptaerne udstedte det største antal guldmønter. Dette indikerer, at handel og handel blomstrede i løbet af efter Maurya og en god del af Gupta-tiderne. Men det faktum, at kun få mønter, der tilhørte post-Gupta-tider, indikerer faldet i handel og handel i den periode.

Afslutningsvis er omhyggelig indsamling af materialer afledt af tekster, mønter, inskriptioner, arkæologi osv. Afgørende for historisk konstruktion. Disse rejser problemet med kildernes relative betydning. Således betragtes mønter og inskriptioner som vigtigere end mytologier, der findes i Epics og Puranas.


Hvordan begrunder du den opfattelse, at niveauet for Gupta -numismatisk ekspertise overhovedet slet ikke er mærkbart i senere tider?

Ifølge nogle forskere er den mest herlige periode i gammel indisk historie reglen for Gupta -dynastiet. De styrede store dele af det nordlige Indien fra begyndelsen af ​​4. århundrede CE til midten af ​​det 6. århundrede CE. Den blomstrende økonomiske tilstand kan konstateres ud fra det store antal guldmønter, der cirkuleres af forskellige Gupta -herskere.

Gupta -monarkerne var berømte for deres guldmønter. De udstedte også sølvmønter. Imidlertid er mønter fremstillet af kobber, bronze eller andre legeringsmetaller knappe. Overfladen af ​​guldmønter fra Gupta -æraen har fået nogle forskere til at betragte dette fænomen som guldets stamme ’.

Gupta -guldmønten er kendt som dinaras. Gupta -herskernes guldmønter er de ekstraordinære eksempler på kunstnerisk ekspertise. Mønterne afbildede den herskende monark på forsiden og bar legender med figuren af ​​en gudinde på bagsiden.

Kunstnerne skildrede herskeren i forskellige stillinger. Undersøgelsen af ​​disse billeder er meget interessant. Hovedsageligt fejrede billederne kampkvaliteterne og herskerens tapperhed. I mange mønter fra Samudragupta er han afbildet som bærende en økse. I andre bærer han en bue i venstre hånd og en pil i højre hånd. Mønterne fra Kumaragupta I (ca. 415-450 e.Kr.) afbildede ham på en elefant og dræbte en løve. Et andet meget interessant billede af Samudragupta skildrede ham som at spille et ‘veena ’, et strygeinstrument. Der er også nogle eksempler på Gupta -mønter, der blev udstedt i fællesskab af kongen og dronningen. ‘king-queen ’ mønttyper blev udstedt af Chandragupta I, Kumaragupta I og Skandagupta. Disse mønter afbildede både kongen og dronningens figurer i en stående stilling. Kumaradevi, navnet på dronningen af ​​Chandragupta I er kendt fra disse mønter. Men de to andre konger nævnte ikke navnet på deres dronninger i deres fælles numre.

‘Asvamedha ’ eller hesteofre-mønter blev udstedt af både Samudragupta og Kumaragupta I.

Næsten hver Gupta -mønt bar figuren af ​​en gudinde og en indskrift på bagsiden. Sanskrit var sproget i indskriften. Gudinden poserede enten i siddende eller stående stilling. Der var mange gudinder afbildet i disse mønter. Det mest almindelige var billedet af Laxmi, den hinduistiske rigdomens gudinde. Andre gudinder, der var med i Gupta -mønterne, omfattede Durga, den hinduistiske gudinde for tapperhed Ganga, gudinden for floden Ganges osv.

Nogle af Gupta -mønterne, hovedsageligt sølvmønstrene, bar billederne af Garuda, en mytisk fugl af hinduistisk tradition. Disse mønter findes i stort antal i det vestlige Indien. I nogle tilfælde erstattes Garuda med en påfugl. Denne variation af mønter er ekstremt sjælden. Og dermed have en stor værdi for numismatisterne.

Den første hamstring af Gupta -mønterne blev fundet i Kalighat i Calcutta i 1783.

Sammenbruddet af Gupta-dynastiet i det femte århundrede under pres fra udenlandske invasioner fra nordvest førte til, at Guptas guldalder faldt mest afspejlet mest i kontinentets mønt. Post-Gupta-perioden oplevede forskellige regionale møntmønstre, der var dårlige med hensyn til kunstnerisk værdi og præget i baserede legeringer som billon (sølv og kobber). Perioden ses som en periode med numismatisk tilbagegang i form af cirkulation med færre mønter fundet som møntbeholdninger (begravede skatte).

Guptaerne blev midlertidigt erstattet af hunerne eller Indo-Hepthalitterne, der invaderede og besatte de vestlige dele af landet via Kabul-Qandahar-ruten. Toramana, Hun-lederen udstedte sølv- og kobbermønter udformet på mønterne fra Sassanid-herskere i Nordvestindien, han udstedte også sølvmønter baseret på Gupta-møntvending, der drejede kongens hoved til venstre og med ‘Toramana Deva ’ indskrevet på det modsatte.

Toramana's Indo-Sassanid-mønter har en typisk buste af kongen, der vender lige på forsiden og et Sassanid-brandalter med Gupta Brahmi-legender på bagsiden. Toramana regerede over Malwa -regionen indtil 510 e.Kr., men hans efterfølger, Mihirkula blev fordrevet Malwa af de fælles styrker i Narsimha Gupta ‘Baladitya ’ og Yashovarman i Malwa i 528 e.Kr. Han erobrede Kashmir og udstedte mønter baseret på Sassanid -standarderne med &# 8216Jayatu Mihirkula ’ graveret i Brahmi på bagsiden.

Regionale møntmønstre var fortsat stærkt påvirket af Gupta -mønten i Bengal, to konger, Samacharadeva og Jayagupta udstedte nedslidte guldmønter, der lignede bueskyttetypen Guptas med en Bull -standard på mønterne. Omvendt har Lakshmi siddet på en lotus, hvilket tyder på, at Samacharadeva erstattede den sidste Gupta -hersker, Vishnu Gupta i midten af ​​det sjette århundrede.

Den næste store mønt fra Bengal var af Sashanka, kongen af ​​Gauda, ​​der var rivalen til Maukharis i Kannauj og deres berømte allierede, Harshavardhana. Mønterne har billeder af Shiva, der ligger på Nandi på forsiden og Lakshmi siddende på lotus flankeret af en elefant på bagsiden.

I begyndelsen af ​​det syvende århundrede kom hele Nordindien under styret af Harshavardhana, herskeren over Thaneswar, et lille fyrstedømme nær Kurukshetra. Harsha var en stor protektor for kunst, buddhisme osv. Harsha indledte imidlertid ikke nogen ny mønt i sine fire årtiers regeringstid. I stedet valgte han at kopiere ‘Øst påfugl ’ typen af ​​Kumaragupta med kongens portræt vendt til venstre.


Tilgængeligt kildemateriale til rekonstruktion af Gupta -tidsalderen

Rekonstruktion af Gupta -tidsalderens historie!

Perioden fra 200 f.Kr. til 300 e.Kr., er passende blevet karakteriseret som en alder af “, opløsning af begrebet imperium ”. I denne periode opstod mange statsstrukturer i forskellige dele af Indien, der mislykkedes i deres forsøg på at udvikle sig til store kongeriger.

Igen blev ideen om et imperium en realitet med fremkomsten af ​​Guptas i det 4. århundrede e.Kr.

I denne baggrund af små statsstrukturer i vigtige dele af Indien steg Guptas af usikker oprindelse til prominens, hvis kerneområde ser ud til at være det østlige Uttar Pradesh.

Billedkilde: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Scene_from_the_Ramayana,_northwest_India,_Gupta_period,_5th-6th_century,_terracotta,_HAa.JPG

Historikere gør en bevidst indsats for at skildre denne Gupta -alder som en alder af ‘Imperial Guptas ’ og ‘the Classical Age ’. Disse lærde, med ordene fra B.D. Chattopadhyaya, var af den opfattelse, at et imperium opfattes som en politisk struktur grundigt bygget af militære bedrifter af flere karismatiske kongelige personligheder, samtidig var det et resultat af befrielsen af ​​Nordindien fra mangeårig udenlandsk styre og politisk forening opnået af succesfuld undertrykkelse af centrifugale elementer ”.

Med dette perspektiv, R.C. Majumdar observerede, “ Gupta -imperiet, ved fuld modenhed, bringer endnu en gang enhed, fred og velstand over næsten hele det nordlige Indien ”. Ekko af det samme sentimentale perspektiv bemærkede også FN Ghoshal, “ Størstedelen af ​​landet havde utvivlsomt stor velstand ”.

K.K. Dasgupta og R.C. Majumdar observerede også, “Den kejserlige Guptas, med hvem bind åbnes, modarbejdede på en dygtig måde centrifugalkræfterne i det nordlige Indien og kongeriget, der blev oprettet af Chandragupta I, blev kort omdannet af hans søn, Samudragupta til et imperium. Gupta -imperiet, opdrættet af en række kompetente herskere, gav Nordindien ikke kun politisk stabilitet og kejserlig fred, men satte også en forbilledlig standard i alle afdelinger af liv og kultur. Faktisk indledte Guptas 'fremkomst på den politiske scene en epoke, der med rette er blevet kaldt guldalderen eller den klassiske periode i indisk historie ”.

Denne opfattelse af Guptasens kejserlige, gyldne og klassiske tidsalder skabes, opretholdes og fastholdes af en gruppe forskere, da de i Guptas 'fremkomst var vidne til et forsøg på at forene de forskellige magtlommer i det nordlige Indien. Som beskrevet af B. Lahiri, dem kontrolleret af de sidste herskere i ‘foreign ’ Kusanas the Gana Sangha, Janapadas, ujævnt fordelt mellem Punjab og Uttar Pradesh, Himalaya til Haryana og Rajasthan og små herskere over, hvad der har været kaldet ‘indfødte stater ’. ”

Kildemateriale til rådighed til at rekonstruere Gupta -tidens historie er knap.

Det tilgængelige kan dog klassificeres som:

(3) kinesiske rejsende ’ konti.

Litterære kilder:

Af alle de litterære kilder indtager Puranas et vigtigt sted. De store Puranas, Vayu, Vishnu, Matsya, Brahmanda og Bhagavata Puranas er meget hjælpsomme for historiens studerende. Disse Puranas blev samlet og bragt frem i skriftlig form i løbet af denne alder. Baseret på de puranske beviser menes det, at grundlæggeren af ​​Gupta -slægten regerede over Prayaga, Saketa og Magadha.

Kalidasa, den berømte sanskrit -dramatiker og digter anses for at tilhøre denne periode, men V. Ramachandra Dikshitar mener, at Kalidas ’ -værker ikke hjælper os som kildemateriale i Gupta -alderen. Desuden er Kamandaka & Nitisara, Pravarasena ’s Setubandha Kavya, Kaumudimahotsava et drama, hvis forfatterskab kan diskuteres, Visakhadatta ’s Devichandraguptam og Mudrarakshasa og Bana ’s Harshacharita er de andre værdifulde litterære kilder til at rekonstruere historien om Guatars historie.

Arkæologiske kilder:

Epigrafer, mønter, sæler, monumenter og malerier udgør det arkæologiske kildemateriale. En kritisk undersøgelse af Gupta -mønter hjælper os ikke kun med at udlede imperiets omfang, den kunstneriske ekspertise og religiøse overbevisning, men også den økonomiske soliditet i Gupta -perioden. Guld-, sølv- og kobbermønter fra Guptas findes i overflod. Generelt har guptaernes guldmønter kongen på forsiden og en gudinde på bagsiden med tilhørende symboler som alterfigurer, Garuda en dværg eller Tulasi -plante.

Guldmønter fra Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, Chandragupta II, Kumaragupta og Skandagupta er blevet kendt. Vi har også guldmønter fra Purugupta, Kumaragupta II og Narasimhagupta Baladitya. Der er sølvmønter fra Chandragupta II, Kumaragupta I og Skandagupta. Vi har kobbermønter udstedt af Chandragupta II og Kumaragupta I.

Mønterne indeholdt legender, der indikerede deres ærbødighed for gudinder og deres graftegn. Mønterne fra Chandragupta I og hans dronning Kumaradevi udviser den betydning, de tillagde ægteskabsalliancen med Lichchavierne som et middel til at opnå politisk autoritet, mens Samudraguptas overlegne guldmønter afspejler økonomien i perioden velstand.

De senere Guptas 'ringere guldmønter afspejler de forværrede økonomiske forhold i deres periode. Mønterne med Asvamedha -symbol afspejler deres krav på suverænitet. Vi kan slutte med at bemærke, at guptaernes guld-, sølv- og kobbermønter vidner om metalarbejde og håndværksmæssig håndværk fra den periode udover deres økonomiske tilstand.

Næsten 42 epigrafer fra Gupta-tiderne, der dækker en periode fra 360 AD til 466 AD, udover en række ikke-Gupta-epigrafer og senere indskrifter gør det muligt for os at rekonstruere historien og tiderne for Gupta-perioden. Af de 42 epigrafer er 19 officielle, mens de resterende 23 er private optegnelser udstedt af private. Blandt disse epigrafer er 27 hugget på sten, og resten er kobber eller Tamra Sasanas. Prasasthierne i Samudragupta og to Prasasthis fra Skandagupta er meget nyttige til at rekonstruere Gupta -historien. Vi har også en Prasasthi fra Chandragupta II indgraveret på en jernsøjle ved Mehrauli i Delhi og resten af ​​de fjorten kobberplader. Generelt giver Prasasthis og kobberpladerne os genetikken hos modtageren og donoren.

De private optegnelser viser donation af jord eller redskaber til et religiøst etablissement, og disse private optegnelser nævner undertiden navnet og lejlighedsvis den regerende konges resultater. Af Gupta -epigraferne er den mest værdifulde Allahabad -søjle -edikt af Samudragupta, skrevet af Harisena, Mahadandanayaka fra Samudragupta. Det er en meget lang Prasasthi, da den registrerer bedrifterne af Samudragupta. Desværre er det udateret. Det blev skrevet i en versform på klassisk sanskrit. Interessant nok danner 33 linjer i denne epigraf en enkelt lang sætning. På samme måde giver Eran -stenepigrafen fra Samudragupta også et glimt af hans præstationer.

Helten i Mehrauli -jernsøjlen, Chandra, er blevet identificeret med Chandragupta II, og denne epigraf omhandler hans præstationer. Chandragupta II ’s erobringer af det vestlige Indien er registreret i Udayagiri -hulens indskrift. Så også Gadhwal-stenepigrafen, Bilsad-stenpilarens epigraf og Mankuar-stenbillede-inskription henviser til Kumaraguptas resultater. Bhitari -søjleepigrafen nær Benaras indeholder detaljer om kampen mellem Guptas og Pushyamitras og hunaerne fra Skandaguptas tid, kronprinsen i Kumaragupta.

Junagadh -stenepigraferne og Kahum -søjle -edikt tilskrives Skandaguptas tid. På samme måde refererer ikke-Gupta-epigrafer også til begivenheder, der skete under Gupta-regimet. En indskrift af Kakutsthavarman fra Kadamba -dynastiet refererer til hans ægteskab med døtrene fra Gupta -dynastiet.

En nutidig indskrift af Varman -dynastiet afslører, at de regerede størstedelen af ​​Malwa. Indskriften anerkender ikke guptasens hegemoni. Disse giver også et fingerpeg om det tidspunkt, hvor guptaerne besatte dette område. Om Gupta -imperiets opløsning og tilbagegang giver epigraferne Toramana og Mihirakula værdifuld information.

Betydningen af ​​disse epigrafer ligger i det faktum, at de sætter os i stand til at bekræfte de oplysninger, der er givet i Guptas 'epigrafer. Den senere daterede epigraph af Rastrakutas, Saranath epigraphen af ​​Pakaditya og Nalanda -registreringen af ​​Yasodharman refererer også indirekte til Guptas og deres tid.

Udover epigrafer kaster monumenterne fra Gupta -perioden – templer, klostre og Chaityas – også værdifuldt lys over Gupta -tids religiøse og kunstneriske ekspertise.

Der var tre forskellige skoler for kunst og arkitektur:

(iii) Nalanda, i denne periode.

Hulemalerierne fra Ajanta og Ellora fra Gupta -tiden afspejler den tids kunstneriske smag og fortræffelighed, sociale liv, festligheder og Jatraer. På samme måde giver talrige sæler fundet i Vaishali og dets kvarter meget værdifuld information om Guptas provinsielle og lokale regering.

Kinesiske rejsende ’ konti:

De oplysninger, der er indhentet om guptaerne fra de litterære og arkæologiske kilder, kan bekræftes fra beretningerne om den kinesiske buddhistiske pilgrim Fahien og en senere dateret beretning om Itsing, der besøgte Guptas -regionen og registrerede hans indtryk. Fahien tilbragte ni år i Indien, seks af dem i Gupta -domstolen, interessant nok tilbragte han tre år på selve Pataliputra og besøgte andre steder som Kanauj, Ayodhya, Sravasti, Kapilavastu, Vaishali og Kusinagara.

Hans konto Fo-Kuo-Kie eller ‘The Record of Buddhist Kingdoms ’ giver meget interessante oplysninger om forskellige aspekter af Gupta-alderen. Fahien er mærkeligt tavs om navnet på Gupta -kongen. Hans beretning alene kan ikke accepteres som et sandt billede af Gupta -tiderne, hvor vi er nødt til omhyggeligt at bekræfte oplysningerne med andre kilder.

Itsing besøgte Indien i de sidste år af det 7. århundrede e.Kr. Han henviser til opførelsen af ​​et tilbedelsessted for de kinesiske pilgrimme ved Mrigasikhavana af Sri Gupta. En rimelig mængde viden om Guptas -tiderne kan indsamles fra disse kilder, så historien om denne periode kan rekonstrueres med nogle kilder.


Bayana Hoard af Gupta -mønter

Hvad angår at finde skatte, var det måske det største vindfald.

Den 17. februar 1946 var Maharaja Brijendra Singh fra Bharatpur, en efterkommer af den berømte Jat -imperiumsbygger, Raja Surajmal på jagtekspedition i landsbyerne Nagla Chela inden for sit kongerige. Efter jagten, da Maharajaen og hans følge forlod, begyndte tre lokale landsbybørn at søge i området efter tomme patroner. For dem var disse værdsatte samleobjekter. Mens de var på 'jagt' langs en lille dæmning, på en fattig landmands mark, plukkede de en lille busk ud og opdagede en kobberpotte begravet under. Gryden indeholdt mere end 2000 Gupta -æra guldmønter. Denne tilfældige opdagelse af tre små børn i en lille ubeskrivelig landsby ville skabe en sensation i numismatikkens verden. Hvad de havde fundet var den nu berømte 'Bayana Hoard', den største kendte skat af gamle indiske guldmønter, der nogensinde er fundet i Indien!

Det mest utrolige er, at denne skat havde ligget uopdaget i 1500 år. Gryden var blevet begravet engang i de første år af kejser Skandaguptas regeringstid, der regerede mellem 455 og 467 CE. Vi ved det, da ingen af ​​mønterne til hans efterfølgere er fundet i hamsteren.

Historien går på, at børnene tog gryden med hjem til deres forældre, og en del af den blev fordelt blandt landsbyboerne. Desværre blev omkring 300 guldmønter smeltet, før Bharatpur -statspolitiet ankom til stedet og overtog de overlevende 1821 -mønter. Landsbyboerne blev tvunget til at betale en straf på 12.680 Rs for at smelte mønterne uden tilladelse.

Maharaja Brijinder Singh, der interesserede sig personligt for hamstringen, inviterede Dr. AS Altekar, formanden for Numismatic Society of India til at besøge Bharatpur i maj 1947 for at katalogisere mønterne. Dette monumentale værk 'The Catalog of the Gupta Gold Coins in the Bayana Hoard' er det eneste og det mest omfattende værk om denne skat. I marts 1951 præsenterede Maharaja dette katalog sammen med kobbergryden og omkring 209 mønter til Indiens præsident, Dr Rajendra Prasad, der skulle vises i Nationalmuseet i Delhi. Bortset fra et par stykker på Bharatpur -museet (78 mønter), CSMVS -museet, Mumbai (20 mønter) og Patna -universitetet (18 mønter) blev den resterende hammer sendt videre til regeringen i Rajasthan, hvor den forbliver indtil denne dag .

Dette er ikke den eneste Gupta -møntskare, der er fundet, der har været omkring 17 sådanne fund i de sidste 200 år. De fleste af opdagelserne har været i Bengal, UP og Bihar. Faktisk blev den seneste opdaget bare 5 år tilbage, i 2013, under en motorvejsbygning i Murshidabad, West Bengal. Bayana -hamsten er imidlertid stadig den mest betydningsfulde. De er et vindue ind i Guptas storhed, store kunstmestre, under hvilke en stor del af Indien så en 'guldalder'.

Et eller andet sted omkring det 4. århundrede CE Guptas rejste sig fra lille fyrstedømme i Eastern Uttar Pradesh eller Bihar, og byggede et imperium, der varede i mere end to århundreder. En konge ved navn Gupta var stamfader. Hans barnebarn, Chandragupta I (319-350 CE) var den øverste hersker, som udvidede sit rige vidt og bredt. Hans søn Samudragupta (regeringstid ca. 330-375 e.Kr.) foretog omfattende erobringer og gjorde sin indflydelse gældende over herskerne i den sydlige region (Dakshinapatha) samt herskere ud over hans grænser i nordvest. Hans søn Chandragupta II forlængede grænserne for sit imperium yderligere til Kashmir i vest og Odisha i øst. Chandra Gupta IIs søn Kumara Gupta I (415-450 CE) udførte to Ashwamedha Yajna eller hesteofre, for at 'erklære' sin magt og tilføjede imperiet, en større del af det centrale Indien, Gujarat og Saurashtra.

Mod slutningen af ​​Kumaraguptas regeringstid var der tilbageslag. Hunaerne foretog razziaer ind i kongeriget, og i løbet af de næste to årtier havde Gupta -kongerne travlt med at afværge denne trussel. Mens Skandagupta (455-467 CE) formåede at besejre hunaerne, da det lykkedes ham, var det store Gupta-imperium begyndt at smuldre. På tidspunktet for Budhagupta (496-500 CE) gik den vestlige del af imperiet tabt efter ham, Guptas forblev begrænset til Bihar, Bengal og nogle dele af Odisha. I sidste ende falmer i glemmebogen.

I betragtning af Guptas betydning i indisk historie var opdagelsen og genopretningen af ​​den store Bayana Gupta Hoard den mest sensationelle numismatiske opdagelse af tiden. Der tales stadig om det, i undren.

Stort set faldt Bayana -mønterne i forskellige kategorier. De er katalogiseret som tekstforfatter, elefant-rytter-type, løvetramper-type, næsehorn-slayer-type og ashvamedha-type. Alle disse er uvurderlige.

1. Kongen og dronningstypen: Mønten viser ægteskabet mellem Chandragupta I og Lichchavi -prinsessen Kumaradevi på forsiden. Bagsiden af ​​mønten har en siddende gudinde Durga. Mønten skildrer Chandra Gupta I. Mønten blev dog udstedt af hans søn Samudragupta.

2. Lyristtypen af ​​mønt af Samudragupta: Er meget smuk og unik. På denne mønt vises kongen siddende i ro og mag på en højrygget sofa, der spiller et strygeinstrument og sandsynligvis en simpel lyr eller lut. Det faktum, at kongen ønskede at offentliggøre et billede af sig selv som musiker, er bemærkelsesværdigt og også et vindue ind i de værdier, Gupta -staten havde højt. Samudragupta er kendt for at have været en stor protektor for kunst og var virkelig en dygtig musiker og digter.

3. Løve-slayer-typen af ​​Chandragupta II: Denne er baseret på tiger-slayer-typen af ​​mønt udstedt af Samudragupta. Også Kumaragupta udsteder mønter på lignende måde. Bagsiden af ​​mønten har gudinden siddende på en løve og diadem i hånden.

4. Rhinoceros-slayer type Kumaragupta: På forsiden af ​​mønten har kongen på hesteryg et sværd i sin højre hånd, der angriber næsehorn. Omvendt har gudinden Ganga stående på en makara (mytisk krokodille). Hun holder en lotus i sin højre hånd. Mønten er af høj kunstnerisk kvalitet, læg mærke til hvordan næsehorn er afbildet med skællet hud.

5. Elefant-rytter type Kumaragupta: Forsiden af ​​mønten viser kongen, der sidder på en elefant og holder en stav i sin højre hånd, mens en ledsager sidder bag ham. Bagsiden af ​​mønten har gudinde Lakshmi stående mod venstre og holder sin højre hånd ud, som om hun ville klappe påfuglen.

6. Karttikeya -type Kumaragupta: Møntens forside har kongen stående med sin højre hånd udstrakt og en påfugl til venstre. Bagsiden af ​​mønten har Karttikeya siddende på en påfugl.

7. Chhatra type Skandagupta: Forsiden af ​​mønten har kongen stående til venstre og ofrer ved et brandalter, mens en ledsager står til højre og holder en parasol over kongen. Bagsiden af ​​mønten har gudinde Lakshmi stående med et diadem. Det Chhatra eller Royal Parasol -typen af ​​Skandagupta -mønt er ekstremt sjælden. Kun et eksemplar af denne type var kendt fra Bayana -skatten.

De fleste Bayana -hamstermønter er i øjeblikket hos Rajasthan State Government, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai og også på National Museum, New Delhi. Man kan se alle Gupta -guldmønterne på Nationalmuseets Numismatiske galleri.


Gupta -mønter

Gupta -mønter The establishment of the Gupta Empire in the fourth century AD heralded a new era in the history of numismatics. The Gupta coinage started with a remarkable series in gold issued by Chandragupta I, the third ruler of the dynasty, who issued a single type- the king and queen - depicting the portraits of Chandragupta and his queen Kumaradevi with their names on the obverse and the goddess seated on a lion with the legend Lichchhavyah on the reverse. Though some specimens of this type have been discovered from the districts of 24-Parganas (North) and Burdwan, Bengal did not come under the Gupta rule till the time of Samudragupta, whose Allahabad inscription places samatata amongst the frontier kingdoms.

Of the seven types of gold coins issued by Samudragupta three viz. Standard, Archer and Ashvamedha are known to be from Bengal. The standard type discovered from Bangladesh, Midnapore, Burdwan, hughli and 24-Parganas (North) depict the standing king holding a standard and offering oblations on a fire-altar. The reverse show a goddess seated on a throne holding a cornucopia and the legend Parakramah. The Archer type, found from 24-Parganas (North), depicts the king standing, holding a bow and arrow with Samudra written under his left arm. The reverse is the same as on the standard type except the legend, which reads Apratirathah ie 'matchless warrior'. The Ashvamedha type, discovered in the Comilla district, shows an uncaparisoned horse in front of a sacrificial post with a flowing banner. The reverse shows a female (probably the chief queen) standing in front of an ornamental spear (suchi) with a flywhisk over her right shoulder and the legend shvamedhaparakramah. No specimens of the battle-axe, tiger-slayer, lyrist and Kacha types of Samudragupta are known from Bengal.

Only two types of coins of Chandragupta II, who incorporated vanga in the Gupta Empire, are known from Bengal. His Archer type coins, which became the most popular type of coinage with the Gupta rulers after Kumaragupta I, have been found in Faridpur, Bogra, Jessore and Comilla districts of Bangladesh and Kalighat (Calcutta), Hughli, Burdwan, 24-Parganas (North) and murshidabad of West Bengal. This type has two classes (one with an enthroned goddess and the other with a goddess seated on lotus on reverse) with several varieties.

His Chhatra (Umbrella) type depicting a king offering incense on an altar while an attendant holds an umbrella over him on obverse and a goddess standing on lotus on reverse is known from the single specimen discovered from Hughli district.

His Lion-slayer, Horseman, Couch, Standard, Chakravikrama and King and Queen on Couch types have not been found in Bengal.

Kumaragupta I, who issued as many as sixteen types of gold coins, is represented by Archer (Hughli), Horseman (Midnapore and Hughli), Elephant-rider (Hughli), Lion-slayer (Bogra, Hughli and Burdwan) and Karttikeya (Burdwan) types in Bengal. The Horseman type coins depict the king riding a caparisoned horse with weapons like a bow and a sword on the obverse and a goddess sitting on a wicker stool, sometimes feeding grapes to a peacock, on the reverse side. The Elephant-rider type shows a king riding on an elephant holding a goad. An attendant holding an umbrella sits behind him. Its reverse has a goddess standing on a lotus with the legend Mahendragajah. The Lion-slayer type has a king, armed with a bow and an arrow, either combating or trampling a lion on the obverse and a goddess seated on a couchant lion and the legend Sri-Mahendrasinghah on reverse. The most beautiful in the entire series is the Karttikeya (or Peacock) type depicting the king in tribhanga posture feeding a bunch of grapes to a peacock on the obverse and the god Karttikeya seated on a peacock and the legend Mahendrakumarah on reverse.

Two types-Archer (Faridpur, Bogra, Hughli, Burdwan) and King and Queen (Midnapore) - of the four known types of Skandagupta, have been found in Bengal. The latter depicts a king and a queen (identified as goddess Laksmi by some) standing facing each other on the obverse and a goddess seated on a lotus and the legend Sri Skandaguptah on the reverse. Archer type coins of Kumaragupta II (Kalighat, North and South 24-Parganas, Midnapore), Vainyagupta (Kalighat and Hughli) Narasinghagupta (Kalighat, Hughli, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Nadia), Kumaragupta III (Hughli and Burdwan) and Visnugupta (Kalighat, Hughli and 24-Parganas, North) have been found in Bengal. Most have metrical legends inscribed in chaste Sanskrit, highlighting the issuer's achievements on the obverse of the coins. A symbol in geometrical design is usually found on the reverse of Gupta coins and a large number bear a Garuda standard on the obverse.

The Guptas followed a complex metrology for their gold coins. Though they were generally believed to have followed the Kusana weight standard of 122 grains for their early coinage after the Roman aurei, and the Indian suvarna standard of 144 grains from the time of Skandagupta onwards, yet we find a gradual increase in their weight from about 112 in the time of Chandragupta 1 to 148 grains for the coins of the last rulers. It is to be noted that their pure gold content remained 113 grains throughout except for the coins of the last three rulers. It is possible that gold coins were not accepted at their face value but at their real value. The Gupta inscriptions use the terms, dinara and suvarna for them, apparently to distinguish the lighter and heavier types respectively.

Some silver coins of Chandragupta II, Kumaragupta I and Skandagupta were discovered at Muhammadpur near Jessore in 1852 and one coin of Skandagupta has been reported from chandraketugarh. Apart from these coins, no other specimens of silver coins are known from Bengal but reference to them in the Gupta epigraphs from Bengal definitely indicate their prevalence in the country. They were issued on the weight standard of 32 grains and referred to as rupaka in the inscriptions. No copper issues of the Guptas have been reported from Bengal. [Ashvini Agrawal]

Bibliografi AS Altekar, The Coinage of the Gupta Empire, Varanasi, 1957 BN Mukherji, Coins and Currency System in Gupta Bengal, New Delhi, 1992.


A Short History Of The Indian Monetary Standard

Ten-rupee coin shot taken in 2010 in New Delhi, India. (Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images)
Snapshot

The history of the Indian monetary standard and the conduct of monetary policy in India over the past three millennia.

The Indian rupee – and, more generally speaking, the Indian monetary policy – has been the topic of much discussion in recent months. The rupee reached an all-time low against the United States (US) dollar in October 2018, hitting close to 74.36 units to a dollar. In December, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel tendered his resignation, provoking a debate over monetary policy independence.

This might be a good occasion to reflect on the history of the Indian monetary standard and the conduct of monetary policy in India over the past three millennia.

What is the history of the rupee? How did Indians conduct transactions and store value over centuries? When did India move to a fiat currency? What are the problems in attempting to manage the value of currency unit while not maintaining the discipline to rein in inflation?

These are questions of economics, yes. But they are also moral questions. An examination of the history of the rupee illustrates that monetary economics is a moral minefield. It is not possible to have the cake and eat it, too.

Early Indian Coinage

Ancient India is widely regarded as one of the early innovators in money and among the first countries to start issuing coins. This was observed in the coinage associated with several Mahajanapadas (circa sixth to fourth century BCE).

But we cannot find much literature from the time elaborating on the monetary standard in the Mahajanapadas. What we do have are the coins. For literary elaboration on the nature and type of Indian currency, one of the earliest books is Kautilya’s Arthashastra, usually dated to fourth century BCE.

Det Arthashastra is also interesting as it carries the first clues to the etymology of the modern word “rupee”. According to Kautilya, the Mauryan state managed the mint headed by a superintendent named Lakshaṇādhyakshah. The silver coins manufactured by the mint are referred to as rūpya rūpa. In Sanskrit, rūpya means wrought silver and rūpa refers to form or shape.

Kautilya, however, does not suggest that the empire had a silver standard by any means. He also refers to other types of coins besides rūpya rūpa, most notably, copper coins called tāmra rūpa.

Også navnet rupya rupa appears to be a bit of a misnomer, as Kautilya in the description of the coins mentions that they are not exclusively made of silver. The silver coin in Kautilya’s words consisted of four parts of copper and the one-sixteenth part of any of the following metals: tikshna (iron), sisa (lead), anjana, trapu (tin). One is not sure of the actual silver content in it. Tilsvarende tamra rūpa (copper coins) comprised four parts of an alloy named padajivam.

So, the monetary system was most likely not a silver standard, or even a bimetallic standard, where the currency unit is defined in relation to two metals. But it was definitely a tightly regulated system where legal tender had to conform to certain standards of composition. It’s also interesting that Kautilya’s understanding of money is pretty consistent with the contemporary understanding. He acknowledges its role not just as a medium of exchange but also as a store of value.

It also appears that there was a central banker of sorts, the rūpadarśaka, whose job was to regulate the currency in the state. Kautilya also talks of a premium of 8 per cent levied on new coins issued, referred to as rūpika, which acted as a source of revenue to the treasury.

Now, how did this change over the next 1,000 years?

Judging by the coins associated with the great Gupta Empire of the fourth and fifth century CE, it does seem that gold coins were a lot more common in the Gupta Empire relative to the Mahajanapada or Mauryan periods. Here’s a gold coin issued by Samudragupta, circa 350 CE. Interestingly, the coin was called dinara, possibly a foreign word as opposed to the Indian word for a gold coin, suvarna rupa.

One hypothesis is that gold coins became popular in India after the Kushan rule, which introduced the dinara to the country. This was later adopted by the Guptas. The Gupta Empire also issued silver and copper coins but gold coins were very common.

Monetary Standards During Sultanate Rule

Now, let’s fast forward by some 800 years to the period of the Delhi Sultanates. There was a radical change in monetary standards introduced in India with the coming of the Muslim rule after the twelfth century (at least in North India).

The early Sultans did not depart from the Hindu numismatic standards. The earliest conqueror of the North Indian plain was Muhammad Ghūri, in the late twelfth century. The gold coins issued during his reign adhered to the convention, with goddess Lakshmi on one side and the name of the ruler on the other. The manager of the mint at Delhi during the rule of Alauddin Khilji’s son was one Thakurra Pheru, a Hindu or a Jain, who left behind a book in Apabhramsa on the exchange rate and the details on metal composition in coins of different types.

But, despite the early continuity, there were some significant changes in the course of the thirteenth century. The Delhi Sultanate established a firm exchange rate between gold and silver of 1:10 – a bimetallic standard of sorts that we didn’t quite encounter in earlier classical literature. Also, this was a period of political and cultural upheaval. The Khilji and Tughlaq sultans were notorious for their raids on Hindu temples, which inevitably meant a great deal of gold acquisition and subsequent use of that gold by the mint to issue coins.

This monetary indiscipline in the thirteenth century put a strain on the 1:10 ratio between gold and silver. Gold dominated in the general circulation, because of which the unofficial exchange rate between gold and silver dropped to as low as 1:7, though the official rate was at 1:10. This is one of the early examples in monetary history where a fixed exchange rate came under stress and eventually collapsed because it was not accompanied by monetary discipline and austerity.

The greed of the Sultans is well documented by the fourteenth-century historian Ziauddin Barani, who talks of the token currency in copper and brass introduced by Muhammad Bin Tughlaq to arbitrarily replace silver. This had a disruptive effect on commercial activity, forcing Tughlaq to backtrack and revoke the token currency.

Tughlaq’s token currency was an innovation not inspired by thinking rooted in Indian realities but possibly a fad picked up from China at the time. In China, the Yuan dynasty was experimenting with “Chao”, a paper currency that is usually regarded as the world’s first fiat currency. It is not surprising that the “paper currency” model did not work very well in China, either, which was beset with inflation problems at the time.

The gold surplus in the sultanate period also found its way into many foreign countries including Iran and parts of Russia. A fifteenth-century Persian revenue manual suggests that the royal treasury at Tabriz had more gold sourced from India than from any other source.

Presumably, the sultanate was engaging in imports of luxury goods (furs, slaves, warhorses) from countries on the north-west using the gold surplus. It was clearly a policy that promoted certain trade patterns that suited the tastes of the sultans funded by Indian gold. But the chaos induced by monetary instability appears to have eventually led to the issue of fewer gold coins during the later Tughlaq period and a reversion to the mixed metal currencies and copper coins.

Monetary Policy In Mughal India

During the sixteenth century, under Mughal rule, greater standardisation set in after the chaos of the preceding few centuries. At the onset of Mughal rule, north India largely used copper currency known as sikandari. While southern India, less influenced by the monetary chaos in the north, stuck to the gold currency, with the gold coin going by the name pagoda in the Vijayanagar Empire.

Sher Shah Suri’s brief reign from 1540 to 1545 was pivotal in the history of the Indian monetary standard. He established a tri-metallic coinage with strict standards after centuries of debasement:

  • Rupaiya: silver coin (and the principal coin in the Empire)
  • Mohur: gold coin
  • Dam: copper coin

With the spread of the Mughal Empire in southern India in succeeding centuries, the rupee slowly replaced the gold pagoda in many provinces, but the pagoda continued to be dominant in the Tamil country.

So, how do we judge the monetary standard from sixteenth to late eighteenth century under Mughal Rule?

Dr B R Ambedkar, a fine monetary historian in his own right, speaks positively of the monetary discipline during Mughal rule in his work, Rupiets problem, published in the 1920s. It definitely was a less chaotic period compared to the plunder, indiscipline, and thoughtless monetary innovation of the preceding sultanate period.

The silver rupee was the dominant currency. But was it a silver standard? Ikke helt. As we discussed earlier, it was a tri-metallic system. The mohur, the rupee, and the dam were linked to each other by a fixed ratio. As we know, fixed currency pegs are dangerous, especially when not accompanied by monetary discipline. But the Mughal mints were relatively more disciplined and they desisted from debasement for the most part.

Radical Changes During East India Company Rule And The Ensuing British Raj

One is not sure if the system changed in any material way when the Mughal Empire declined and power moved into Maratha hands in large parts of the country.

The early years of the Company rule in Bengal saw the first issue of paper currency in India, a first in Indian history. The banks that issued paper currency included the Bank of Hindustan (1770-1832), the General Bank of Bengal and Bihar (1773-75), and Bengal Bank (1784-91). But the monetary standard in the late eighteenth century remained a bi-metallic or, rather, a tri-metallic system with primarily silver coins (as well as gold and copper in circulation).

However, at the dawn of the nineteenth century, the Company authorities were irked by the lack of uniformity that had probably crept in with the political chaos in India in the eighteenth century. There were three types of rupees – the rupee sicca of Bengal, the rupee surat of Bombay, and the rupee arcot of Madras.

In 1835, there was an act passed that abrogated bimetallic standards and moved British India to a mono-metallic silver standard. Broadly speaking, we can think of the monetary standard in the British period in three distinct phases:

  • 1835-1893: Silver standard
  • 1893-1898: Transition to gold standard
  • 1898 onwards: Gold exchange standard

So, clearly, the silver standard was effective for the longest period.

While standardisation and a single standard may be viewed as positive developments by some, it also created some problems. The biggest issue was that though India moved to the silver standard, its chief trading partner and ruler, Britain, was on a gold standard.

The period of the Raj was unique in the long Indian monetary history. For the first time, the economy was not primarily self-contained as in earlier centuries, but foreign trade (particularly with Britain) increasingly constituted a large part of economic activity. Given the move to a mono-metallic standard in 1835, it may have made sense to move to gold, as Ambedkar mused a century later.

But the move to the silver standard meant that the two countries were on different standards, and the government made futile efforts to fix a ratio between the two. In 1841, a proclamation authorised the treasuries to fix the gold-silver ratio at 1:15. This proved problematic when new gold deposits were discovered in Australia and the US, bringing down the gold price. As the Indian treasury was honouring the fixed exchange rate of 1:15, there developed a market in shipping gold to India to make a profit. This resulted in vast accumulation of gold in the Indian treasuries.

Eventually, attempts to peg the exchange rate were abandoned in the 1850s, following which there was a major fall of the rupee, as illustrated below.

This was in part triggered in the late nineteenth century by two things:

  • Demonetisation of silver in many countries (Germany, Scandinavia in 1870s)
  • Discovery of new silver mines

But this turmoil in exchange rates was not really a negative thing. Indian trade volumes actually increased quite remarkably in this period of rupee decline, as shown below.

Also, the rupee decline was not caused by currency debasement or an irresponsible mint (as we saw in the period of the sultanate). Inflation in India remained under control. So, the point to emphasise here is that letting the currency depreciate was not a catastrophe. Sure, it meant increased payment of home charges to the Britain for maintenance and upkeep. But these were the evils of colonial rule, not so much the fall in the rupee, per se.

Under a lot of pressure, India did move to a gold standard in the late 1890s. While pegging may have created a semblance of stability, it meant the country had a very tight money supply and no monetary independence. This ties back to the maxim of the “Impossible Trinity” in international economics. A country cannot have all three of the following:

In the later years of British Raj, under the gold standard, what we had was a fixed exchange rate and free capital movement. But this naturally meant a surrender of monetary independence and a monetary policy ill-suited to the Indian business cycle. In fact, India did not even have an independent central bank till 1934, the year RBI was instituted.

The Rupee Post-1947

After the country’s independence, elections and political accountability meant that there was much greater emphasis and need for having an independent monetary policy that addressed the Indian business cycle. However, we also continued with a fixed exchange rate, with extremely low volatility. The rupee was pegged to 1 US dollar in 1947. In later decades, the low volatility of exchange rate was maintained despite some depreciation forced by crises.

But the combination of a fixed exchange rate and independent monetary policy was achieved by erecting barriers not just on capital flows but also rather needlessly on the current account trade. It was a period of relative isolation from the world – a huge opportunity cost paid by the economy.

Here’s a look at the rupee’s evolution vis-à-vis the US dollar since independence.

Costs Of Currency Pegging

There is little doubt that India’s currency pegging came at a cost. Even though we had barriers on trade and capital flows for most of the post-independence years, we still had to buckle under pressure to devalue the rupee in 1966, when we faced our first severe economic crisis.

India’s unjustifiably high exchange rate was maintained artificially by placing restrictions on imports and subsidising exports. Nevertheless, perhaps the peg could have been maintained if monetary discipline had prevailed and inflation kept in check.

But inflation went out of control in the 1960s, making Indian goods extremely expensive abroad.

India’s fiscal profligacy meant that the deficit was partly funded through increasing money supply, as evident in the numbers below.

Foreign aid throughout the 1950s and 1960s helped to prevent a major crisis. But things came to a head in 1966 when aid was cut off and India was forced to devalue its currency. Though India devalued the currency practically overnight from Rs 4.8 to Rs 7.1, it was not as sharp a decline as it probably could have been. What was needed then was a removal of trade barriers and a much weaker rupee to make India competitive. Yet, we chose a strong rupee over a strong economy.

There was a repeat of the 1966 crisis in slightly different circumstances in 1990-91. The country tethered on the verge of bankruptcy and India could barely finance three weeks of imports. The reforms were forced upon India, in part by an International Monetary Fund bailout. While the reforms involved many pieces, the centrepiece, of course, was abandonment of the fixed exchange rate policy and letting the rupee depreciate.

The rupee depreciated from 17 to a dollar to roughly 35 to a dollar between 1990 and 1996. It has progressively weakened since, against major currencies.

Yet, the Indian economy has strengthened by the day. Today, it is the strongest that it has ever been, at precisely the moment when the rupee is arguably the weakest it has ever been. That’s not an anomaly at all.

The lesson from this quick examination of Indian monetary history from the Mauryan period to our times is to remind ourselves that the monetary standard by itself tells you very little about the robustness of a country’s economic system.

It is the responsibility of the central bank to maintain monetary discipline. In this time of global integration, it is also the responsibility of the government to reduce barriers to trade and capital that could hurt a developing economy. . But, all said and done, it does not behoove the government to prop up the rupee.

The value of the rupee is best left to the market.

Shrikanth Krishnamachary is a data scientist in financial services based out of New York City, whose interests include economics, political philosophy, Hinduism, American history, and cricket.


Indian Currency History: Post-Independence Era

After independence (1947) when India finally became a Republic in 1950, the modern Rupee returned to the signature design of Rupee coin. The Lion Capital at Sarnath was the chosen symbol for the paper currency. This symbol replaced the banknotes with images of King George VI. Therefore, the first banknote that was printed in India post independence was a one-rupee note.

The Reserve Bank of India printed currency notes with the image of Mahatma Gandhi in 1996. These notes are still in circulation and come with enhanced security measures as well as tangible aids for visually impaired people. However, the use of high-denomination notes of Rs.5000, Rs.10000, and Rs.1000 was stalled because they were being used in illegal transactions. After the demonetization in November 2016, Rs.1000 and Rs.500 notes were replaced with new banknotes of the same value. An addition to the denomination has been the 2000-rupee note.


Some Prized Coins of 2018

As far as the numismatics and coin collectors calendar goes, the Annual Coin, Banknote and Philately Fair organized by the Mumbai Coin Society recently was an important event. Up for grabs were some historic and fairly valuable coins. With the highest prized one being the gold coin of King Krishna of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. The annual fair is popular among coin collectors and numismatics enthusiasts , Mumbai being a big center for coin auctions.

Here is a look at the top draws

1. Gold Dinar of Samudra Gupta

Det Ashwamedha guld dinar of Samudra Gupta was auctioned for a whopping price of Rs 6 lakhs by Todywalla Auction House. The Gupta gold coins are known as dinars and they are the most extraordinary examples of numismatic and artistic excellence. Samudra Gupta was one of the most celebrated rulers of the Gupta dynasty (4th – 6th century CE). The ‘Asvamedha’ type coins of Samudra Gupta are unique. In these we find a horse standing before a yupa or a sacrificial post with text around the coin mentioning the King as the conqueror of heaven, earth, and the oceans. The coin presented in the auction was one of the finest specimens seen to date and thus commanded a high price.

2. Gold Pardao of John III of Portugal

John III was the king of Portugal from 1521 to 1557. During his rule, Brazil was colonized and Portuguese possessions extended deep into Asia thus giving him the nickname of ‘o Colonizador’ (The Colonizer).

John III’s policy of reinforcing Portugal’s bases in India, secured Portugal’s monopoly over the spice trade. With the development of trade and commerce in Cochin, there was a great demand for coins. The Portuguese therefore established a mint in this city in 1530 to issue coins. The coin in the picture was issued in Cochin in the name of John III. The gold coin is extremely rare and was sold at the price of Rs. 6 lakh by Todywalla Auctions.

3. Gold Gadyana of Krishna II

Another significant coin was the gold gadyana of Rashtrakuta King Krishna II. The gold coin is extremely rare and is in very good condition.

Rashtrakutas controlled most of the western coast of the subcontinent, and hence trade from here, between the 6th and 10th century CE. The dynastic symbol of the Rastrakutas was the Garuda or the eagle. The coin illustrates a cross-legged Garuda seated on a lotus. The coin has an inscription which reads ‘Shri Shubtunga’ in Nagari script and a pseudo-Arabic legend on both the sides of the coin. Pseudo legend means that the original script is blindly copied on the coin and does not necessarily make sense. The pseudo-Arabic legend indicated that they had trade contacts with Arabs and copied their coins.

Though the coin wasn’t sold in the auction, the opening bid was among the highest, at Rs 7 lakh.

4. Gold Mohur of Jahangir

The coins of Mughal Emperor Jahangir are prized by experts and coin collectors all over the world because of their uniqueness and rarity. This gold mohur of Jahangir, issued at the Burhanpur mint is very rare and was sold at Rs 4.1 lakhs by Todywalla auctions. This very rare gold mohur was issued by Jahangir during the month of Di. The obverse of this coin is inscribed as ‘Nur-Al-Din Jahangir Shah Akbar Shah’. The reverse of the coin is inscribed as ‘Ilahi month Di’, on the top, along with the mint name ‘Burhanpur’ in the middle line and Regnal year 17 at the bottom.

5. Silver Rupee of Shah Alam II

The silver rupee coin of Shah Alam II (1759 -1806 CE), the sixteenth Mughal Emperor was sold by Oswal Auction House for Rs. 1.7 lakhs, though the initial bid was Rs. 75 thousand. This coin issued from the Sirhind mint, was one of the biggest highlights of the auction as it is extremely rare and only one other coin is known to exist. That one is at the British Museum.

The coin marks an important historical event. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the once mighty Mughal Empire was crumbling and the Maratha power reached its zenith. The Mughals became mere titular rulers and the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were protected by the Maratha army. During the reign of Shah Alam II, the Mughals faced the wrath of Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afganistan, which led to the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 between the Maratha army and invading forces of Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afganistan and other allies.

The region of Sirhind was in control of the Afgan Governor Abd us-Samad Khan and he was killed by the Marathas when they captured Kunjpura on 13 October 1760. For a short period, between October 1760 and January 1761, Marathas minted and issued coins under the name of Shah Alam II from the Sirhind mint, making the silver rupee of Shah Alam II historic and valuable.