Throughout history, the right
to Coinage and Currency and issues of sovereignty have been
curiously conjoined, emotionally if not rationally; these
issues stimulate debate even today.
The transition of currency
management from colonial to independent India was a reasonably
smooth affair. Midnight, August 15, 1947 heralded Indian independence
from colonial rule. The Republic, however, was established
on 26th January, 1950. During the interregnum, the Reserve
Bank continued to issue the extant notes.
Government of India brought
out the new design Re 1 note in 1949.
Government of India - Rupee One
Symbols for independent India
had to be chosen. At the outset it was felt that the King's
portrait be replaced by a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Designs
were prepared to that effect. In the final analysis, the consensus
moved to the choice of the Lion Capital at Sarnath in lieu
of the Gandhi Portrait. The new design of notes were largely
along earlier lines.
Rupees Ten - King's Portrait
Rupees Ten - Ashoka Pillar
In 1953, Hindi was displayed
prominently on the new notes. The debate regarding the Hindi
plural of Rupaya was settled in favour of Rupiye. High denomination
notes (Rs 1,000, Rs. 5,000, Rs. 10,000) were reintroduced
Rupees One Thousand - Tanjore Temple
Rupees Five Thousand - Gateway of
Rupees Ten Thousand - Lion Capital,
The lean period of the early
sixties led to considerations of economy and the sizes of
notes were reduced in 1967. In 1969 a commemorative design
series in honour of the birth centenary celebrations of Mahatma
Gandhi was issued depicting a seated Gandhi with the Sevagram
Ashram as the backdrop.
Rupees One Hundred - Commemorative
Cost benefit considerations
prompted the Bank to introduce Rs. 20 denomination notes in
1972 and Rs. 50 in 1975.
High denomination notes were
once again demonetised in 1978 for the same reasons as the
1946 demonetisation. The 1980s saw a completely new set of
notes issued. The motifs on these notes marked a departure
form the earlier motifs. The emphasis lay on symbols of Science
& Technology (Aryabhatta on the Rs 2 note), Progress (the
Oil Rig on Re 1 and Farm Mechanisation on Rs 5) and a change
in orientation to Indian Art forms on the Rs 20 and the Rs
10 notes. (Konark Wheel, Peacock).
Management of Currency had
to cope with the rising demands of a growing economy, together
with a fall in purchasing power. The Rupee 500 note was introduced
in October 1987 with the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. The water
mark continued to be the Lion Capital, Ashoka Pillar.
Rupees Five Hundred
Mahatma Gandhi Series
With the advancement of reprographic
techniques, traditional security features were deemed inadequate.
It was necessary to introduce new features and a new 'Mahatma
Gandhi Series' was introduced in 1996. A changed watermark,
windowed security thread, latent image and intaglio features
for the visually handicapped are amongst the new features.
Rupees Ten : Size 137 x 63 mm
Rupees Fifty : Size 147 x 73 mm
Rupees One Hundred : Size 157 x
Rupees Five Hundred : Size 167 x
Rupees One Thousand : Size 177 x