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19 July, 2012
Sikh Coinage: Symbol of Sikh Sovereignty
Sikh Coinage: Symbol
of Sikh Sovereignty
The Sikh coinage
has a number of distinct and unique features vis-à-vis prevailing
currencies in India. Almost every Sikh historian, European or Indian who wrote
about Sikhs, has commented on Sikh coins, based on earlier accounts with some
modification but without any examination of the coins which were readily
available. These accounts have spread disinformation and distortions to such an
extent that the few numismatists who examined the Sikh coins also succumbed to
the historical fiction based on hearsay.
An attempt has
been made in this study to correct various disinformations and distortions,
e.g. the incorrect translation of the legends, incorrect nomenclature of Sikh
currency, coins alleged to having been struck by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh in
the name of a courtesan, coins struck by Hari Singh Nalwa in his own name, etc.
From the evidence collected from detailed examination of historical accounts
and meticulous numismatic investigation, the true perspective has been arrived
at about Sikh coinage, in his pristine beauty and as a symbol of Sikh
Sikh coins were
first issued by Banda Bahadur between 1710 and 1713 and after a gap of almost
half a century they were again issued from 1765 till 1845. In the field of
Indian numismatics, Sikh coins in particular have received scant attention.
Scholars and academics have been guilty of neglecting the subject. The present
work attempts to fill this gap.
Singh, after a short spell as a research scholar in
University of Delhi and as a Lecturer in Political Science, Government College,
Gurdaspur, was selected to the Indian Defence Accounts Service, where he served
from 1956 to 1987.
retirement, Surinder Singh took up the study of Sikh coinage, of which he had
collected over a thousand pieces, during the last few years of his service in
He has published
over thirty research papers in reputed national and international journals and
Dr. Singh is at
present working on the ‘Concept of Sikh Sovereignty’ as a Senior Fellow of
Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.
284p. Rs.495/ pounds 28