Display of Canteen (F & B) Tokens used in Indian Textile Mills

Started by asm, February 08, 2024, 10:41:02 AM

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asm

At the recent Coin fair - 'COINEX 2024 AHMEDABAD' held last week end (2,3 & 4 February 2024) in Ahmedabad, I had displayed my collection of Tokens used in the Textile Mills in India. I post a picture of the display frame. Unfortunately, the picture does not permit a detailed view of the tokens.
Besides the Canteen Tokens (I could not display all the tokens in my collection due to space constraints), I displayed some other tokens used in the Indian Textile Industry. Though not a part of the F&B tokens, I have taken the liberty of posting the image here.
Besides this, I had also displayed my collection of Mughal Coins issued during the reign of Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Murad Baksh & Aurangzeb from the mint at Ahmedabad.
The 3rd picture is of me receiving a memento and certificate in appreciation of the display.

Amit

GCS Tokens Display 2 - Copy.jpg

GCS Tokens Display 1 - Copy.jpg

GCS 1C.jpg
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Figleaf

Congratulations, Amit. What a great fun collection! The great varieties in the flans and the rich history attached to them make them stand out.

I presume that exhibits of Indian tokens are not an everyday occurrence. I wonder how coin collectors reacted to such an original subject.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

asm

Thanks, Peter, for the compliments. I must thank you for almost 'dragging' me to collect tokens, a subject, I was not even aware of till a year and half back when we did a joint presentation of the tokens on the WoC monthly meet.
I now have found that there are many collectors of tokens in India and the subject is vast - as vast as coins or probably even broader. In this same fair, I had a collector from Surat exhibit his tokens - 6 frames - 3 displaying cycle license tokens and 1 frame showing Dog License. He had one frame with Railways related tokens and 1 frame showing some unique tokens.

Regarding my display, the tokens that I displayed were 1 frame with tokens used in Mill canteens while the other frame had a mix of tokens and a medal. As one can see, the tokens in the second frame were issued for multiple uses. There were some which, I believe, were identification tokens. These tokens are almost all from mills in the Gujarat area, which, in the last quarter of the previous century, saw riots almost every year in some part of the state. These lead to curfews and shoot at sight orders. Textile industry was the backbone of the city and a majority of working class population were employed in this industry. So these large badges would probably have been issued so that the workers walking towards the mill could be easily identified by the army / police personal and not shot.

Mills made huge profits and to reward shareholders and associates, silver commemorative tokens were issued on anniversaries. Silver was not very expensive then and we have tokens weighing from 10 g to over 50 g issued to commemorate anniversaries.

Some tokens were issued to identify workers going out during working hours (out-pass).

A fun subject, now that I have got the hang of things...... but I will stay put with the tokens for the Textile Industry - which too, seems to be a very vast subject.

Amit
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Figleaf

Yes, in any country, there are more tokens than coins issued. I like to think of coins as records of the history of rulers, while tokens are witnesses of the history of everybody else, which means there are far more issuers of tokens than of coins. Personally, I believe you need to do both to get a realistic picture of history. When you do that, you discover the link between the two: economic history. Rulers need taxes, taxes need income, income needs trade. Trade needs stability. Rulers decide on stability.

In that sense, your Indian textile tokens tell a story with two watersheds: the industrial revolution and Indian independence. Gandhi towers above both. The industrial revolution brought machines and faster production and abusive labour practices and mass unemployment, especially in the country, and abject poverty, especially in the cities. The reaction was co-ops: workers taking care of themselves and social care: employers helping employees.

The picture of Gandhi spinning is hopelessly romantic. He had an excellent point that India exporting yarn and cloth to Manchester and Manchester exporting cloth and clothes to India was wasteful madness, but no professional was spinning by hand any more. More to the point is the statue of Gandhi leading a march of common people, guided by a member of the next generation. Those marches led to independence and a frantic search for policies to handle the consequences of the industrial revolution. It took - too many - decades before they were found, just in time for riding the crest of the electronic revolution...

There was resistance, there were undercurrents, dead ends and a good amount of chaos and confusion, speckled with old-fashioned ill-advised war. All of it can be illustrated with tokens and coins.

I am gratified there are people delving into that part of Indian history too.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.