Fact Check: Had East India Company issued coins featuring Lord Ram?

Posted on 2019-11-14 07:57:15 by Anubha Pandey


A picture was widely shared on social media with a claim that East India Company used to issue coins that features Hindu God during its India rule. In our investigation, we found the viral picture is FAKE as there is no mention of such coins in history and several numismatic have ruled out the possibility that such coins were ever issued by East India Company. 

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Recently, a picture was widely shared on social media with a claim that East India Company used to issue coins that feature Hindu God.A twitter page named Ajit Doval Fan shared the pictures of both sides of a coin with a caption, "Do you know that two anna coin was released in 1818 by East India Company; and you will be surprised to see the other side of the coin. "

This post was retweeted more than 35O times. 

In the picture, on one side of the coin, Hindu symbols like 'Om' and 'Lotus' can be seen, and on the other coin bears five figures, with the central figure shown as Lord Ram.  These pictures were widely shared on Facebook as well. 

Many people have also shared the video of the coin.

The Truth behind the claim 

In our investigation, we researched the history of coinage in India before Independence on RBI's official website and found no mention of the viral coin, featuring lord Ram. Below is the image of all coins mentioned on RBI's website. You can check the history of coins here.

We found a report by Altnews, where they have spoken to numismatist Mohit Kapoor, who is the regional secretary for the South Asian chapter of the Oriental Numismatic Society. He gave an explanation about the viral coin and said, “All of these are fantasy issues as the East India company never minted any coins of this type. Moreover, the years that these pieces have on 1616, 1717 and 1818 had hand struck coinage whereas these fantasy pieces are all struck using machines. Another thing that clearly points out that these are fantasy issues is the denominations that are inscribed on these pieces. Specific denominations were struck in specific metals, a 2 Anna would be in silver and not in copper. In fact, the earliest example of a 2 Anna in Copper-Nickel alloy is the one struck in 1919, which too saw stiff resistance by the general population as they were used to the denomination being in Silver.” 

In another report by India Today, they spoke to numismatic Dr. PV Bharat about this viral coin. He said,  "These types of coins with pictures of gods are made for the purpose of sale to foreign tourists. Whenever East India Company issued a coin it had its logo." he added, Temple tokens do have the images of god but they have no value and certainly don't have Anna written on them,"

Queen Elizabeth, I granted a royal charter on December 31, 1600, following which the East India Company commenced its quest for commercial and imperial expansion. After the victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the company created its prominence within the subcontinent and eventually flourished its rule with the establishment of the Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay presidencies, after which the coining of money was the logical outcome of the consolidation of territory, serving as proof of sovereignty in a newly conquered land. However, initially,  East India Company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries acknowledged the supremacy of the native rulers, with inscriptions in Persian or other native languages including Hindi, struck either in the name of the Mughal emperor or other native rulers and princes. Only after 1835, a uniform system of coinage was adopted.

Therefore, we can conclude that the viral picture of the featuring Hindu symbols and God is FAKE.

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