The history behind Indian currency notes is often fascinating. There are prominent reasons for coming up with the very different kind of currency notes we see every day. Right from the beginning, since two decades all we could see as the common factor in any of the note is ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait’.
What if we say that the idea of printing Gandhi’s picture was started only in 1987? Well, that is true. India has a plethora of currency notes, each has its own design for the standout reason and in some peculiar situations, we can even encounter those old notes at our houses during some or another time.
Coming back to the topic, let us start with the advent of Gandhi onto the national currency notes. As it was said earlier, Mahatma Gandhi series was introduced in 1996 less than 20 years ago. However, the first note with Mahatma Gandhi on it was introduced in 1987.
The existing series (introduced in 1976) did not include 500Rs Notes. A different design of 10 rs notes was introduced in 1992, though it did not belong to any series and neither did it feature Mahatma Gandhiji on it.
Prior to that in 1969 commemorative notes featuring Mahatma Gandhiji (1969 was Birth Centenary of Gandhiji) were introduced in denominations of Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 100. But these were commemorative notes and not the normal series. Only the reverse of the then existing series (Ashoka Column – second issue) was changed to incorporate Mahatma Gandhiji in the design.
But since it is about the Notes before Mahatma Gandhi (series), here they are:
Rs 2: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Aryabhat Satellite
Rs 5: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: A Farmer plowing his field with a Tractor
Rs 10: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Peacocks
Rs 20: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Wheel of Konark Temple, Konark, Odisha
The 500 Rs Note that was introduced in 1987. It wasn’t part of the Mahatma Gandhi series.
Rs 500: Obverse: Mahatma Gandhi, Reverse: Dandi March
The 10 Rs note that was Introduced, without being part of any series in 1992.
Rs 10: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Shalimar Bagh, Jammu & Kashmir
Well, it is quite assuming to see the vintage 1976 series more colorful and vivid than the currently available combinations.
On a brief note, its time RBI introduces new series of notes. Its been almost 20 years now. And, RBI has finally made a move about introducing the new notes.