Have you ever thought that a note of Rs 100 or a coin of Rs 5 may actually have a lot of history behind it? But yes, the currency in India has several interesting facets to it and this is amply illustrated at the RBI Monetary Museum in Mumbai which offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of money beginning from the time when emperors used gold coins to the current trend of e-money.
Inaugurated on November 18, 2004 by the then president of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the RBI Monetary Museum is a valuable addition to the Reserve Bank of India’s economy and finance-related functions and commercial activities. As the custodian of the country’s monetary heritage, the museum is an effort to document, preserve and present India’s currency system to the public. It was conceived as a part of the RBI’s educational and outreach programme.
The museum has been divided into many different sections and together they present a permanent and itinerant display of representative collection of original coins, notes and financial instruments which take the visitors down 2,500 years. The first section named ‘Ideas, Concepts & Curiosities’ introduces the visitor to how the money originated and evolved and how it is transformed from the concrete to the abstract i.e. the age of the good old barter system to electronic money. The next section of the Indian coinage traces the evolution of coined money from 6th century BCE to the present with exhibits of select coins along with a chronology of events and the timeline marking the important historical events.
The third section highlights how the transition from coins to bank notes has taken place over the years as well as the concept of banking. The fourth section, along with a tour of indigenous banking, ‘hundis’ and other financial instruments, gives a glimpse of the early bank notes in India which evolved in late 18th to early 19th century down to the present. The next two sections introduce the visitor to how the demand and supply of currency is managed in the country. It also explains the security features of bank notes.
For students, the museum has interactive information kiosks and money games. The kiosks give comprehensive details with enlarged images about the displays and the games through which children can learn various features and facts of currency notes and coins. The museum also furnishes information to students and the curious who may want to know more about Indian numismatics and the RBI.
The museum definitely increases your knowledge about Indian currency. For instance, paper money, as we know it today, was introduced in India in late 18th century at a time of intense political turmoil and uncertainty in the wake of the collapse of the Mughal Empire and the advent of the colonial powers. The changed power structure, the upheavals, wars, and colonial inroads led to the eclipse of indigenous bankers, as large finance in India moved from their hands to agency houses that enjoyed state patronage. Many agency houses established banks.
Visiting the museum:
RBI Monetary Museum,
Amar Building, Ground Floor,
Sir P M Road, Fort,
Mumbai – 400 001.
Telephone: 022-22614043 | Cell- 09820793270 Fax: 022-22702820
Timings: 10.45 am to 5.15 pm. Closed on Monday and bank holidays.
Entry: Free for all
Other Facilities: Requests can also be made for Museum Guides for group tours. Visitors are provided with lockers to keep their valuables. There is an arrangement for drinking water and washrooms for the visitors. Parking slots for six cars or two buses available in the vicinity of the museum.
For more details: www.rbi.org.in