Author Topic: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab  (Read 4507 times)

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Offline Coinsforever

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Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« on: January 24, 2011, 06:19:56 AM »

Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab

Bhalur is a small village in Moga district of East Punjab, situated some 25 kilometres southwest of the district headquarter. A month back the local inhabitants planned to build a new Gurdwara in memory of Bhai Des Raj, the founder of the village. As usual, kār-seva or voluntary work-service, started.
A local owner of a mechanical digger volunteered to dig the foundation for the structure
at night.

The very next morning the kār-sevaks were amazed to see some old silver coins in the dug earth. On a careful search 56 coins were found out (one coin has lost since then). A careful study of the coins revealed that eighteen of these belonged to the later Mughal period and the rest to the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799–1839).

Each Mughal coin measures 2.7 cm in diameter and weighs about 11 gm. The reed edge of some coins is still intact. The complete legend on each reads thus          (Pl. I ):

Obverse:

Hami din ala Muhammad
Sikka fazal Shah Alam Padshah
[za]d bar haft kishwar
 
(Defender of the divine Faith; money [with the grace of] Shah Alam Badshah [struck] seven climes).
Reverse:

sana 45 julus maimanat manus
zad Farrukhabad
(In the year 45 of his reign of tranquil prosperity; struck [at] Farrukhabad)


The emperor Shah Alam (literally meaning "Lord of the Universe") in whose name these coins were issued was the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II (reign 1761-1805), son of the emperor Alamgir II. The original name of this infelicitously styled emperor was Ali Gauhar. In fact he was the emperor in name only but really a pensioner of the British. After the battle of Buxar (1764), he submitted to the English who the next year took over the administration of what remained of his realm. With this, the Company also assumed the right of coinage.

Although Shah Alam lived up to 1806, he had been barbarously blinded in 1788 when a new puppet king Bidar Bakht was put on the throne. But soon the Marahattas deposed the new king and kept Shah Alam under their control until the British General Lord Lake freed him in 1803. He has also left a collection of his Persian and Urdu verse under the title Diwan-i Aftāb (Aftāb was his pen-name).

The mint name is given as Farrukhabad (situated some 150 km E of Agra) which along with Benaras was one of the two chief mints that served the upper country in Bengal . It was founded in 1803 and first issued these "45 Regnal Year" coins corresponding to the year 1218 Hijri or 1803 of the Common Era. However, this mint was closed in 1824. It may be interesting to note that the Benaras mint ceased to issue its own rupees in 1819 and instead struck an issue of Farrukhabad rupees from 1819 till 1830. And after this date, Calcutta and Sagar took up the duty of issuing Farrukhabad rupees.

The remaining 37 coins of the hoard belong to the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799-1839). The date is not readable on one of the coins. Of others, the year-wise number of coins is: 1861 (1), 1865(1), 1869(4), 1871(2), 1872(3), 1874(4), 1876(3), 1877(3), 1878(4), 1879(4), 1880(4), 1881(3). All these are Samvat years which converted into Common Era fall in between the years 1804 and 1825.

The weight of each Sikh coin is also 11 grams but their size is a bit smaller, 2.4 or 2.5 cm in diameter. Obviously, the Sikh rulers continued the denominations, or weight and purity standards as established by the Mughal rulers. Even the Persian script, the lingua franca of the educated people from Turkey to Bengal , continued to be used. What they changed was the legend on the coins. The following two types of legends were used on the obverse side of
the coins.

1. Deg tegh o fateh nusrat be-dirang
Yaft az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh
(Abundance, power and victory [and] assistance without delay are the gift of Nanak [and] Guru Gobind Singh)

2. Sikka zad bar har do Alam fazl Sachcha Sahib ast
Fath-i-Gobind Shah-i-Shahan Tegh-i Nanak Wahib ast.
(Coin struck through each of the two worlds by the grace of the true lord. Of the victory of Gobind, King of Kings, Nanak's sword is the provide)


One of the Sikh coins bears on its reverse side along with the date, the mint name as Dar al-Saltanat Lahore (Pl. II) and some other coins as Sri Amritsar (Pl. III).

All the coins bear a leaf mark chosen for unknown reasons. Some scholars identify it as a pipal leaf (Ficus Religiosa) but the variations on the shape of the leaf are so many that it does not belong to a botanically identifiable plant but represents the general idea of a leaf.

The purchasing power of the Sikh coins can be known by comparison only. The historian Bikram Jit Singh Hasrat tells that between 1830 and 1840, in Lahore and Amritsar , one rupee bought on an average: 37.5 kg of wheat, or 76.5 kg of barley, or 46 kg of gram, or 7.7 kg of rice, or 18 kg of gur, or 3.7 kg of cotton. The French Generals Allard and Ventura entered Maharaja Ranjit Singh's service in 1822 at an annual pay of Rs. 30000.

The rupees of Lahore and Amritsar mint were valued at Delhi only at 14 ½ annas. Theoretically they followed the standard of the Shahjahanabad rupee of the Mughals. They were supposed to be pure silver and to weigh 11 mashas and 2 ratis but at Delhi they were only valued at 14 ½ annas, i.e., at about 10% discount rate.

Sardar Gurdev Singh Bhalur, the President of the Gurdwara plans to display these historical coins for public view in the shrine when completed.


Source :Apnaorg


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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 02:23:41 AM »
Very interesting report. Thank you. First, as long as the Farrukhabad coins cannot be accurately dated, the key date seems to be 1825. That means that the treasure must have been hidden after 1825. The hoard, although substantial, does not seem to be that of a money trader, since the variety of coins found is not great. It seems to be too much money for a simple soldier. A merchant? Maybe, but a local one, again in view of the lack of diversity. A fugitive? Quite possible. Someone's life savings, carried away before insecurity and random murder, hidden, unable to prevent the killing of the owner.

A fugitive for what? We'll never know, but the expanding Sikh empire is a poor candidate, because of the Farrukhabad coins. The rebellion of 1857? Ah! Sounds good. Farrukhabad was close to the centre of the storm. The Sikhs sided with the East India Company. So now the question is, where is Bhalur in Moga district of East Punjab? Please have a look at the map in the lemma linked to above (click through to get it large size on your screen). Is it anywhere close to anyone of the underlined cities?

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

Offline Coinsforever

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 03:58:30 AM »
Here is the Map from official website of Moga District , Punjab , India .

Map image can be zoom to view with exact location of village Bhalur of Moga District , Punjab , India (Circled in Red)

Website Link is http://moga.nic.in/index.html

Cheers ;D
Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector's item.



http://knowledge-numismatics.blogspot.in/

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011, 11:26:30 AM »
Thanks Ajay. We may conclude that the little treasure was found South of the Farrukhabad-Lahore road. That is compatible with a fugitive scenario: you wouldn't trust the main road, which would be full of military transport, and take parallel roads instead. Each evening, you would bury your big silver money before going into a village for a meal and a bed bought with small change and you'd pick up your treasure again the next morning. Unless you weren't alive the next morning...

It all remains speculation, though. Maybe it was just the stash of a farmer who had sold his land before his death, only to die before he could tell his favorite son where the money was.

Sad stories, all, but lucky for later generations that the coins were preserved.

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

Offline asm

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2011, 11:40:27 AM »
.....We may conclude that the little treasure was found South of the Farrukhabad-Lahore road. That is compatible with a fugitive scenario: you wouldn't trust the main road, which would be full of military transport, and take parallel roads instead. Each evening, you would bury your big silver money before going into a village for a meal and a bed bought with small change and you'd pick up your treasure again the next morning. Unless you weren't alive the next morning...

A very possible scenario. May be was caught by some one who reported him to the Authorities. However, assuming this was indeed one of the alternative roads used by some one running from the law, there could be other places too where such treasures could be found.


.....Maybe it was just the stash of a farmer who had sold his land before his death, only to die before he could tell his favorite son where the money was.


Peter

This too is quite possible.......he did not wish his family to know and by the time he thought he would tell some one, he was no more.....or may be the whole family was lost in some mishap.
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011, 11:54:09 AM »
I am completely convinced that the large majority of buried treasuries in India has not been found yet. When metal detection became popular in Europe, statistics of treasures found jumped wildly. The major point is that there are not enough archeologists to cover the whole country. The minor point is that archeologists do not research spots that do not look promising or interesting. Metal detector pilots go everywhere, and there are many of them.

In India, metal detectors are still scarce and the law does not promote their use. When that changes, as it will, one day, you will see spectacular results. Given the attitude of the authorities, though, it may be the best solution if the treasure remains in the ground for the time being.

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

Offline asm

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2011, 01:53:32 AM »
In India, metal detectors are still scarce and the law does not promote their use. When that changes, as it will, one day, you will see spectacular results.

I agree with this. If more and more people can afford the luxury of a Metal Detector and the time to use it, there could be huge spurt in the number of finds of Archeological importance. And I hope that the one day comes soon.

.....Given the attitude of the authorities, though, it may be the best solution if the treasure remains in the ground for the time being.

Peter

It would be in the best interest of knowledge research that it stays hidden till the authorities become more open.

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

akona20

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 03:03:07 AM »
Rather interestingly i have had a number of conversations with Prof. Strnad who wrote that great book on Mughal coin hoards and the underlying theme of the discussions was the absolute wish to assist by officials in further investigations. Sorry to hear that they are too busy doing not much to actually work on these things.

I can make an educated guess on the reasons for non co operation.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 11:59:30 AM »
I think it is a learning process.

At independence, India was full of enthusiastic people, great debates and not a clear idea of where to go and what to do, plus a small crowd of Gandhi followers who knew very well what they wanted. The latter created a directing, nourishing, regulating state where private initiative was considered positive only if it served their ideas.

In the short run, this worked well, but in the long run, India stagnated and became isolated. This is where successive Indian governments arrived at the insight to do away with the cumbersome system of licenses and to open the economy. After initial hesitation, that has proven to be very beneficial to India. Even as old industries are withering under competition, many more new ones are taking their place. It is important that India was one of the first colonies to achieve independence, without models to apply, unable to learn from history or the experience of others. It wasn't until the aftermath of the Korean war, that a better development model was found in East Asia.

The remaining issue is the attitude of the civil servants. Some have been around under the old system, they remember the old days fondly and they think the new ideas should be treated very carefully. Since they are older, they often hold the higher ranks in the hierarchy, making them still very influential, but every year, there are less of them.

People in India scathingly refer to civil servants as "babus". I don't know what the word means in India, but I know what it means in the Malay languages. A babu is a maid whose task it is to take care of a baby, feeding it, changing its diapers. The Indian babus may see the population as their baby, not realizing that they have grown into an adult.

Slowly, the old civil servants will be replaced by those who never saw the old days, who have received modern education, who have seen other countries. These people will change the silly laws.

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

akona20

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2011, 12:41:40 PM »
Hmmm I rather hope babu doesn't mean that or there could be mass sackings tomorrow.

I am told it means father/boss. I do in a cricket umpire context accept uncle.

Nursemaid in Malay is emban while amah is sometimes used as that although tradionally means maid servant.

Offline asm

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Re: Silver Coin Hoard from Bhalur East Punjab
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2011, 01:08:50 PM »
People in India scathingly refer to civil servants as "babus".

Peter in Hindi Babu suffixed with a ji (a mark of respect) is used to address an elder family member - someone akin to the Father........

Most likely the word could have come in to use as these educated civil servants (today they are only one of these two - either civil or sevant but not both) were well respected by the populace. Unfortunately, this went to head and they become arrogant and then, after the British left, they become the new rulers..............not answerable to anybody.

I do admit things could change, as it has done here, in the state of Gujarat......where the Chief Minister is a task master who sets targets and demands answers. With some one to demand output, we have a bunck of Jokers overnight reformed to 'civil servants'. But archeology is a Central Government controlled subject where the State administration has almost no say in framing rules and regulations.
 
Amit

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