Towards the nineteenth century, the pie was the smallest
minted coin in India. It constituted 1/3 rd of a pice and was officially
termed 1/12th of an Anna. 3 pies made a pice; 4 pice made an anna and 16
annas made a rupee. One rupee, thus consisted of 192 pies. (No wonder
arithmetic daunted the faint-hearted then!!)
In the wake of the second world war, India witnessed an
inflationary situation as well as a scarcity of metals that had to be
imported. It was in this context of rising prices that the minting of the
copper pie was discontinued after 1942.
Ten years later,there was a proposal by the Mint Master
that the pie be reintroduced as a part of the coinage of Republic India.
The proposal, however, was very gently squashed by the then Finance
Secretary, Shri K.G. Ambegaokar on cost-benefit considerations.
Ambegaokar, later also served as Governor of the Bank for about one month
in 1957. C.D. Deshmukh, the former Governor of the Bank was then the
Finance Minister. He as "Minister" wrote the last word ending the saga of
the humble pie.
"Much as I admire the valiant efforts made to rescue the
'picayune coin', I must, I am afraid, albeit with a heavy heart, write
The Epitaph of the Pie
Low and high
We all will sigh
When the poor little
Bids her last goodbye.
But her cost's is so high;
And what can she
What trade can she ply?
She needs must eat the humble pie;
So let us not vie
To keep alive the pie
a plaintive cry
Peacefully let her die.
If you want the reason why
There need not be hue and
Remember she'll in honour lie
With the silver rupee high!
Will the "Minister" say the last word?
July 12, 1952
In the note, C D Deshmukh concurred stating
Let not the 'press' of men
Disturb a museum
When life's extinct, oh then
The pie shall lie in peace.
July 13, 1952