Coins of Later Mughals

The 18th century in Indian history is full of political turmoil. On the one hand, it witnessed the slow downfall of the great Mughals and the emergence of several regional powers all over the subcontinent; on the other hand it also saw the emergence of another powerful empire- the British Empire under the East India Company. The death of Aurangzeb in 1707 CE marked the starting point of the decline of the Mughal Empire. However, Mughals continued to rule nominally up to 1856 CE. They were regarded by all the regional powers as well as the Company to be the sole source of sovereignty in the whole of South Asia. Coins were still struck in their name and Friday prayers or Khutba were still read in their names in the mosques all over India. We will look at some of those 18th century Mughal coins and the various interesting facts associated with them.

Since the second decade of the 18th century, the centralized Mughal state faced increasing difficulties in resource mobilization. Their main source of income was the land revenue collected from the provinces. With the weakening of the Mughal centre, the revenue supply from the provinces became irregular. This is also evident in the later Mughal coinage.

Gold and silver coins were continued to be issued in the name of the Mughal Padshah from Delhi. But their value and number was declining.

Farrukhsiyar who ruled as the Mughal emperor from 1713 to 1719 issued Gold Mohurs and silver rupees from both Delhi ( also known as Shahjahanabad after the great Mughal Shahjahan) and Itawa which is situated in modern Uttar Pradesh. The gold Mohurs of Farrukhsiyar weighed around 10.90 gm and recorded the name and reigning year of the Padshah on the obverse and reverse respectively. The dates were recorded in Al Hijri following the Mughal Islamic tradition.

A silver rupee of Ahmed Shah Bahadur (r. 1748-1754) was issued from Khambayat or Cambay, a port town on the western coast of India known for its considerable importance in maritime trade. This coin was issued in 1748 (1161 AH) and weighed around 11.50 gm. The style and decoration of the coin followed the usual Mughal style of inscribing the name and the regnal year of the emperor in beautiful ornamental calligraphy.

Shah jahan III (1759-60 CE) was a titular ruler but issued a silver coin from Delhi. These coins are particularly interesting for the numismatists for their strange source of silver. At that point of time, the Mughal emperor was in a difficult position facing the advancing Afghans. The Marathas from the south India marched towards Delhi to help the Mughal emperor. The Maratha general Sadashiv Rau Bhao reached Delhi to help the Emperor but he was short in cash which was essential to meet the expenses of the massive campaign against the Afghans. To solve this problem, he ordered the silver linings to be stripped off from the ceiling of the Diwan I Khaas and coins to be struck using that video porno gratis. Diwan I Khaas is a hall situated in the Red Fort, Delhi which was used by the Mughal Emperor for private audiences. Around 900,000 Rupee coins were issued using that silver.

A Short History of Indian Coins

The earliest references to coins in the Indian context have been found in the Vedas. Though Vedas are primarily religious texts, they are not solely concerned about Yoga, spirituality or after-life. Rather there are numerous references to ‘nishka’ and ‘nishka-griva’ which are believed to be earliest specimens of Indian coinage.

Another breakthrough in the Indian coinage can be traced back to 6th century BCE. Several small states emerged in the northern India during this period. The trading activities grew rapidly. We came across several terms such as the nishka, karshapana, shatamana, vimshatika which were coins of different weight and value. Interestingly, the weight-system of the coins was based on the red and black seeds of a particular variety of tree called Abrus precatorius. The coins of this age were mainly made of silver and copper. They are known among the numismatists as punch-marked coins. Punch-marked coins did not show any great instance of artistic expertise.

But the coins of the next age which was circulated in India were destined to be the best examples of artistic expertise. They were issued by the Indo-Greek kings of north western India. These coins were found in large numbers in various places of modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. These coins are significant because they carry detail information about the issuing monarch, the year of issue and sometimes even an image of the reigning king. Coins were mainly made of silver, copper, nickel and lead.

The reign of the Gupta dynasty is described by some historians and scholars as the ‘Golden age’ age. And this is quite evident from their coins. Numismatists have found number of gold coins of this dynasty. These coins are also rich in details of their issuing authority. The gold coins of the Guptas were known as dinaras. The writings on these coins were in Sanskrit. These coins depicted the reigning monarch in different poses.

Apart from the coins another major medium of exchange xxx in the early Indian market was the cowrie shell. Cowrie shells were used in large numbers by the ordinary masses for small scale economic transactions. It is said that the cowrie shells carried definite value in the market just as the coins.

With the fall of the Gupta dynasty in mid-6th century CE there was a marked decline in commercial activities in Northern India. This period is also significant in the history of Indian coinage because the decline of monetary system. The decline of coinage can be noted in their number, their appearance, and value.

However, the situation changed with the invasion of the Turks in 11th and 12th century CE. Vast areas of northern India came under the rule of the Sultans. Trade and commerce with West Asia was again flourishing. The various dynasties of the Delhi sultans issued silver and copper coins. The inscriptions on the coins were mainly in Perso-Arabic script. Interestingly the coins did not bear any image of the issuing monarch. The reason was the prohibition of idolatry in Islam.

Muhammad binTughlaq, one of the sultans of 14th century was famous for his monetary reforms. He circulated bronze and copper coins and token paper currency. However, his measures failed miserably as his subjects resorted to wholesome forgery of the currency notes. Ultimately he had to withdraw the currency notes.

The Great Moguls of 16th and 17th century issued coins closely resembling other Central Asian dynasties. Sher Shah, a ruler for a very short period of time in the mid-16th century was a bitter enemy of the Mughals. He is also remembered for his introduction of a kind of silver coin namely rupee. Interestingly, in India money is still known as rupiya.

The Moguls were succeeded by the East India Company’s colonial rule. The Company rule brought the monetary system of India in direct connection with the global economic system. However, the name of the Indian currency continued to be rupee under the Company rule.