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Table: Mints in Native States, c.1869-70 24

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Native State Ruler/Reign (A.D.) No. of Mints Location of Mint(s) Coinage Metal(s) and Nomenclature
ALWAR Sheodan Singh (1857-74) 3 Rajgarh Ar. Roop Shaee Rupees
Durelia Ae. Pice
Jodhawas Ae. Pice
BANSWARA Lakshman Singh (1862-1905) 1 Banswara Ae. Luchmun Sahee Pice
BARREA (Devgadh Baria) Mansingji (1864-1908) 1 Barrea Ae. Kuttaris Pice and ½ Pice
BARODA Khande Rao (1856-70) 1 Baroda Ar. New Sai Sai Rupees; Ae. Baroda Pice
BHARATPUR Jaswant Singh (1852-93) 1 Bharatpur Ar. Rupees
BHOPAL Shah Jahan Begam (1868-1901) 1 Bhopal Ar. Rupees
BIKANER Sardar Singh (1851-72) 1 Bikaner Ar. Sirdar Sahee Rupees
BUNDI Ram Singh (1824-89) 1 Bundi Ar. Ram Sahee Rupees, Gyara Suniya Rupees
CAMBAY Hussain Yafar Kjanj (1841-80) 1 Cambay (Khambat) Ar. Rupees
CHHOTA-UDAIPUR Jit Sinhji (1851-81) 1 Chotta Udaipur Ae. Oodeypoorie pice
COCHIN Rama Varma (1864-88) 1 Cochin Ar. Fanams
GWALIAR Jayaji Rao (1843-86) 6 Lashkar Av. Maharaj Sahee Muhar; Ar. Chandoree Rupees, Gwaliar Rupees; Ae. Maharaj Sahee pice, Gwaliar pice
Bhilsa Ar. Chandoree Rupees
Bajrungarh Ar. Chandoree Rupees
Isagarh Ar. Chandoree Rupees
Ujjain Ar. Halee Rupees
Jhansi Ar. Nana Sahee Rupees; Ae. Bala Sahee pice
HYDERABAD Afzal-ud-Daulah (1857-69); Mir Mehboob Ali Khan (1869-1911) 1 Hyderabad Ar. Rupees
INDORE Tukoji Rao Holkar (1844-86) 1 Indore Ar. Halee Rupees
JAIPUR Ram Singh (1835-80) 1 Jaipur Av. Jhar Shaee Muhar; Ar. Rupees
JAISALMER Bairi Sal (1864-91) 1 Jaisalmer Ar. Akhey Shaee Rupees
JANJIRA Sidi Ibrahim Khan III (1848-79) 1 Janjira Ar. Rupees
JHALAWAR Prithvi Singh (1864-75) 2 Jhalra Patun Ar. Muddun Sahee Rupee; Ae. Pice
Shahabad Ar. Rupees
JIND Raghbir Singh (1864-87) 1 Jind Ar. Jheendah Rupees
JOWRAH Muhammad Ismail (1847-75) 1 Jowrah Ae. Paisa
KARAWLI Madan Pal (1853-69) 1 Karawli Ar. Rupees; Ae. Pice
KASHMIR Ranbir Singh (1857-85) 1 Srinagar Ar. Chilki Rupees
KISHANGARH Prithvi Singh (1840-79) 1 Kishangarh Av. Muhar; Ar. Rupees
KOTAH Chattar Sal (1866-89) 1 Nandgaon Ar. Rupees; Ae. Pice
KUTCH Pragmalji II (1860-75) 1 Bhuj Av. Koree; Ar. Koree; Ae. Trunbias, Dokras
LUNAWARA Wakhat Singhji (1867-1929) 1 Lunawara Ae. Lunawari pice
MALAIR KOTLAH Sikandar Ali Khan (1859-71) 1 Malair Kotlah Ar. Rupees
MARWAR Takhat Singh (1843-73) 5 Darbar Mints  
Jodhpur Av. Muhar; Ar. Bijey Sahee Rupees
Pali Ar. Bijey Sahee Rupees
Soojat Ar. Bijey Sahee Rupees
Nagore Ar. Bijey Sahee Rupees
Jageerdar’s mint  
Koochawun Ar. Rupees
MEWAR Shambhu Singh (1861-1874) 6 Darbar Mints  
Udaipur Av. Suroop Sahee Muhar, Chandoree Muhar; Ar. Suroop Sahee Rupees, Oodeypore Rupees
Umrara Ae. Pice
Chittor Ar. Suroop Sahee Rupees
Bhilwara Ae. Pice
Jageerdar’s mint  
Soolumber Ae. Pice
Bheendur Ae. Pice
NABHA Mahindar Singh (1862-76) 1 Nabha Ar. Rupees
NAWANAGAR Vibhaji (1852-94) 1 Nawanagar Av.-; Ar. Jam Sahee Koree and 1/2 Koree; Ae.-
PATIALA Mahindar Singh (1862-76) 1 Sirhind Av. Muhar; Ar. Rajah Sahee Rupees
PERTABGARH Udaya Singh (1864-90) 1 Pertabgarh Ar. Salum Sahee Rupees
PORBANDAR Vikamjit (or Bhojrajji) (1831-86) 1 Porbandar Ar. Rana Sahee Koree, 1/2 Koree and 1/4 Koree; Ae.-
PUDDUKOTAH Ramchandra Tondaiman (1839-86) 1 Puddukotah Ae. Amman Cash
RADHANPUR Zorawar Singh (1825-74) 1 Radhanpur Ar. Rupees, 1/2 Rupees and 1/4 Rupees; Ae. Pice
RATLAM Ranjit Singh (1864-93) 1 Ratlam Ae. Paisa
SAILANA Dule Singh (1850-90) 1 Sailana Ae. -
SHAHPURA Lakshman Singh (1853-69); Ram Singh (1869-70); Nahar Singh (1870-1932) 1 Shahpura Ar. Ageeara Sahee Rupees; Ae. Pice
SOONTH (Sunth) Bhavansing (1835-72) 1 Soonth Ae. Rampurias
TONK Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan (1868-1930) 1 Tonk Ar. Mahomed Khanee Rupees
TRAVANCORE Rama Varma IV (1860-80) 1 Travancore Ar. Fanams, Chakrams; Ae. Cash

Part III

The Maharawal of Dungarpur though did not have any mint in operation but he asserted the right of coining silver and copper coins. As for themints in the other parts of India, it was noticed that the mint establishment was on a skeletal use in most of the Native States who possessed them. These mints were operated occasionally to strike a few pieces to mark the accession or anniversary of a ruler. It was observed on the basis of information compiled in 1869-70 that, "In the Mahee Kanta, Surat, the Panch Mahals, Candish (Khandesh), Sattara and Dharwar, there are no mints. That of Sawant Waree was abolished in 1845. The Chiefs of Kolhapoor and Southern Mahratta Country have abandoned the coining ..... In Sind the British Coinage alone is found ...... The present Chief of Rewah does not keep up the Mint. In Duttia ... no coin has been manufactured since the mutiny. The mint of Oorcha has been at work since that date, but is not at present made use of ..... Punnah and Chutterpore...formerly had mints." 25

Regarding the proposed measure to abolish or assimilate, the Reports held discordant views. The Resident at Hyderabad was apprehensive aboutfailure of any restrictive measure on the part of the Government . He wrote :

"The prerogative of coining is one on which the independent Native Governments set so much value that I feel confident that any measures which might be taken on the part of our Governmentto interpose any restrictions on its exercise, or in any way to regulate the action of the local Mints would be viewed with considerable mistrust and alarm."26

Col. H.D. Daly, Officiating Agent of the Governor-General in Central India, on the other hand, held that the assimilation of the coins of mints in Native States, leaving the device as the distinguishing symbol, would be practical. He was also convinced that, "With Railways, communications, the inconvenience and loss which people will sustain in having to deal with coinage comparatively useless outside the district they inhabit will bring to light the benefits of a coinage which will be universally received without the intervention of a broker." Dally emphasized on the cooperation of the big Native States for a successful implementation on the scheme. He wrote :

"...if the question of general uniform coinage is to be dealt effectually, the assent of the big States must be first sought. This accomplished, the rest will soon follow." 27

The Reports were generally unanimous in recommending the retention of mints by large Native States. Lt. Col. R.H. Keatinge, Agent of the Governor-General in Rajputana, recommended the continuation of Bundi and Kotah mints. 28 Lt. W.J.W. Muir, Officiating Political Agent at Harawti in Rajputana, recommended the retention of the mints of Shahabad and Sironj belonging respectively to Jhalawar and Tonk, as he felt that, "abolition of the mints might lead to the complications." He further referred to Shahapura Mint as "dying a natural death" and suggested that, "...it be left to do so rather than the authority to coin be withdrawn." 29 Col. J.C. Brooke, Political Agent at Marwar, who had earlier unsuccessfully negotiated with the Maharaja of Mewar to abolish the mint of his feudatory Chief at Kuchawan, reported to the Government- "I do not expect the Maharaja to yield readily, nor do I see how we can, with justice, press him to so heavy a sacrifice were he cannot possibly gain any advantage." 30 Thus, to implement the policy of the Government to introduce a uniform currency he opined, "when a greater amount of British currency has been introduced into the country, the direction of all the principal Native Mints will be very much restricted." 31

Lt. Col. J.P. Nixon, Political Agent in Mewar, reported on the subject of the mints in the Native States of Udaipur (Mewar), Pertabgarh, Dungarpur and Banswara, where these were regarded as "an insignia of royalty." He, however, recommended the abolition of the feudatory Chiefs’ mints at Salumber and Bheendur.32Keatinge, on the other hand, genuinely feared that, "His Highness (the Maharana of Mewar) would find it difficult to enforce such a measure without assistance from the paramount power (i.e. the Government of India)." 33

In the light of the reports from the Political authorities in the Native States, the questions that came up for the consideration of the Government of India were :

"I.Whether any measures could be adopted to induce the several Native Chiefs or any of them to forego the privilege of issuing coin and to close their mints.

II.Whether, if such measures could not be adopted, the coin of the Native States could be assimilated in every respect, except the device, to that of the Government of India.

III.Whether Native Chiefs could be persuaded to admit the coin of the Government of India as legal currency in their territories on condition that their coins in the like manner were allowed currency as legal tender in British territories." 34

All the above questions were examined in detail so as to effect much needed currency reforms in the Native States. It is, therefore, worthwhile to analyze the stand taken by the Government of India on each of the above questions.

First and foremost conclusion was that the Governmentshould not venture to abolish the minting prerogatives of the Sovereign States. "The power of coining", records a Office Note, "being one of the most valued prerogatives of sovereignty, I do not think that we have any right to compel a Sovereign State to relinquish it. That any Sovereign State would willingly surrender it is, to my mind utterly improbable." 35 A similar policy of non-interference or of "Wait and Watch" was suggested for the Treaty States as well. The Office Note further records:

"In the case of Sunnud-holding States, which have for long exercised the privilege of coining without demur on our part, I think it would be better to let matters remain as they are.... ." 36

It was, over the years, observed by the Governmentthat the natural tendency for a State is to reduce the number of its mints, or, in case where there is only one, to let it fall into disuse. Thus, "In 1847, there were ten mints at work in Scindia’s dominions. There are now only five. In early days there were several mints in Cashmere (Kashmir). Now there is only one..... . Serohi and Doongarpore, cease to issue coin at all." 37

The second alternative, if the first one failed, to assimilate the Native coins to that of the Government of India in every respect except the device, was also considered but was found "equally beyond attainment." Several technical and practical difficulties were noticed in assimilating Native coins and thus having a Uniform Coinage for the peninsula of India which would be "the same in weight, composition and form, except as regards the device." This measure was practicable in two ways, viz. :

i)"by issuing to such Native States, as might be declared to have the right of coining, for the impression of the device, blanks of silver and copper, identical with those on which our own device is impressed", or

ii)"by setting up at each capital of the Native State machinery capable of turning out such blanks." 38

It was nevertheless, feared that if the Governmentwere to supply blanks on which they had nothing else to do by stamp a device, the Native Chiefs would not consider that they were exercising in its entirety the right of coining. 39 They might have also looked upon it as a advance step to some future infringement of their dignities. Besides, the loss of seigniorage by the Native States, and the cost of carriage of blanks from the Government mints to the Native States were also considered detrimenting factors. The second proposal too, would have involved enormous expenditure, for which the Native States were to get no return.

The third question before the Government depended on the decision upon the second proposal, as the extension of the coin of the Government of India as legal currency in the Native States was subject to the condition that the coin of the Native States would vis a vis be allowed as legal tender in British Indian territory. But from the second proposal it was clear that the Government was not prepared to admit the coinage of the Native States as a legal tender in British territory, unless it was assimilated to its own coinage in all substantial respects.

C.U. Aitchison, Officiating Secretary to the Government of India in Foreign Department, summarised the economic and political benefits as well as difficulties in adopting a uniform coinage in his Note dated 8 September 1870, submitted to the Governor-General Lord Mayo. He enumerated the benefits in following words :

"There is nothing that would conduce to material prosperity of India and facilitate the interchange of the products of her various provinces more than a uniform coinage. It would expand the intelligence of the people, increase their trade, strengthen their mutual sympathies, relieve them from the losses arising from the fluctuations ofexchange. It would also have a very important political effect, and in times of disturbance would give the British Governmenta great hold upon Native States in proportion to the amount of their coins that it might have in reserve in its treasuries." 40

At the same time, the difficulties in the way of introducing any such scheme were enormous and indeed overwhelming. Aitchison records ;

"There are difficulties in recalling the current Native coins and substituting a new coinage even if the Mints could be suppressed. There are difficulties in the conversion of accounts, in the adjustment of fixed contract, of mortgages, rents, incomes, pay of troops &c., which are almost insuperable, and, which could not be effected without influencing the mass of the people, in all the petty transactions of daily life and, perhaps, creating an amount of discontent and disaffection which the British Governmentmight be ill-prepared to meet." 41

Thus, discussing the pros and cons of the proposed measures the Note of the Secretary, Foreign Department, laid down cardinal principles for conducting Government’s policy with regard to the suppression and regulation of the Native Mints and assimilation of Native Coinage, viz.:

1. "Where Mints have either been suppressed altogether, or have not been in active use within the last five years, their revival or opening should not be permitted."

2. "All outlying States, such Cashmere &c., and all purely local coinage which confined to a definite beat and does not come into play in general mercantile transactions, should be left absolutely alone. The only parts of India where an attempt to influence Native Chiefs in the matter should be made for the present is Central India and Rajputana. If any scheme succeeds there, it will not be difficult to adopt it elsewhere." 42

Aitchison also felt that if any Native State expresses a determination not to give up their mints, the Governmentshould help it, as far as possible, to procure good machinery and to improve their assay and process of coining. He suggested that :

"The Agents in Central India and Rajpootana might be instructed not to make any written communication to the Chiefs on the subject, but to take such opportunities as may occur, of discussing the matter individually with them in conversation and of explaining to them -

(a)the capabilities of the mints at Calcutta and Bombay which are able to turn out coins sufficient for the requirements of the whole of India ;

(b)that if any Chief will assimilate his coins in standard, purity and weight to those of the British Government, and gave sufficient guarantee that this will be done, Governmentwill be prepared to consider how far the coins of that State can be made a legal tender in British India ;

(c)that the device and inscription of the coin will be such as the Native Governmentmight choose :

(d)that the Governmentis willing either to supply the blanks to be stamped by themselves, or to issue the coin from the GovernmentMints stamped with the Native device." 43 (Italics mine).

Now this proposal of the Government of India to undertake the manufacture of coins of the Native States was mooted and for this purpose the Secretary offered to consider the propriety of establishing a new mint at some convenient place, such Neemuch or Agra, "should any number of Chiefs indicate a readiness to adopt an international coinage." 44

Mayo agreed with the Secretary not to take any particular action in the matter, for the time being, beyond instructing the Political Agents, "to point out to the Native Chiefs, as opportunity arises how advantageous it would be for them to take steps to make Indian coinage more uniform and to assimilate it as far as possible to that of the paramount power." 45 He also instructed them to discourage altogether, or, if possible, prevent establishment of new mints.

The entire matter was then placed before the Governor-General’s Council and a Confidential Resolution was passed on 6 October 1870. It recorded :

"....however desirable and beneficial a uniform coinage for all India may be, it is not possible to introduce a scheme for this purpose, unless the mints in Native States were closed or their management be taken under the control of the Government of India."

"The objections to such a course, both on political and general grounds, are so great that His Excellency deems it inexpedient to take any action in the matter at present beyond instructing Political Agents to point out to the Native Chiefs, as the opportunityarises, how advantageous it would be for them to cooperate in making the Indian Coinage more uniform, and in assimilating it, as far as possible to that of the British Government." 46

As far as the principal Native States were concerned, who were not expected to willingly surrender the right of coining,"the Government was not prepared to sanction any authoritative interference." 47 However, on the other hand, it sanctioned the closing of the mint at Shahpura in Rajputana, as it regarded that "the political position of the State is not much as to entitle it to the privilege of coining." 48 Likewise, the Political Agent at Rewah Kanta was asked to explain the circumstances under which mints at four States in the Bombay Presidency, viz., Barrea, Chhota Udaipur, Lunawara and Soanth were opened, and to report whether they cannot now be abolished. 49

The Proceedings of the Government of India in this matter along with the copies of the correspondence with the Political Officers, were forwarded to the Secretary of State on 16 November 1870. 50In his reply dated 16 February 1871, the Secretary of State agreed with the measures adopted by the Government of India in its Resolution and hoped that few Chiefs who possessed the privilege of minting would be likely to resign it at their own free will. 51

In June, 1871 the Government decided to make the facilities of the Government mints at Bombay and Calcutta available to the Native States for coinage of copper. The rates were as follows :

" ...if the copper is supplied by the Native State, the Mint shall coin it at a charge of four annas for one hundred pieces, but that if the Mint has to find the copper, then the market value of the metal is to be added to the above charge." 52

However, there were few takers of the above proposal. One of the Native States who showed some inclination on the subject was Patiala. Before taking any decision the Maharaja of Patiala sought information on following points.

"1st -Whether such coins (copper) would bear the inscription of the Riyasat or of the British Government.

2nd - Whether such coin would be current in British territory.

3rd - Whether the Mint Officers would require any special order before receiving, or have been directed generally to receive, copper sent for coining by a Native State." 53

This inquiry from the Maharaja of Patiala led to re-consideration of the entire policy of the Government afresh. It was then resolved that coin struck for Native States may bear any device approved by the Foreign Department and that the Mint Master should execute any orders for copper coin that may be sent to him by the Native States. However, regarding the currency of such coins in the British territories, the spirit of the 1870 Resolution was echoed in the following words :

"....the coin struck for the Patiala State cannot pass as legal tender in the British Territories without a change of the law.... ." 54

As the Governor-General Lord Mayo had been assassinated at Port Blair on 8 February 1872 and his successor was yet to assume office, the Governmentdeclared that it was "not prepared at present" to promote any change in the law for admitting coins of a Native State as a legal tender in the British Indian territories. 55

  Introduction & Part I | Part II | Table of Mints & Part III | Parts IV & V | Appendix | References  
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