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Mumbai University exhibits demonetised notes from across the world

The biggest attraction in the note exhibition was Venezuelan note which will stop being legal tender from December 16 of this year.

mumbai Updated: Dec 16, 2016 12:19 IST
Akash Sakaria
Venezuelan 100-Bolivare currency which would be demonetised today post-midnight.
Venezuelan 100-Bolivare currency which would be demonetised today post-midnight. (HT Photo)

As the country grapples with demonetisation question, the Archaeology and Geology exhibition held at the Kalina campus of Mumbai University, for the first time, has exhibited demonetised notes from all across the globe.

The exhibition, organised by Centre for Extra-mural Studies and Instucen Trust, in an ensemble of art and architecture in all its forms.

The collection was created by Sanjay Joshi, an expert in study of numismatics and archaeology.

“There were many countries which have implemented demonetisation before, barring ours in 1978 by then Prime Minister Morarji Desai (who scrapped Rs500, Rs1,000, Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 banknotes),” said Joshi while adding, “Technically, ours is re-monetisation of Rs 500 notes and demonetisation of Rs 1,000 notes. Demonetisation means to stop the currency totally.”

Old Pakistani 100-rupee note which seized to be legal tender on December 1 of this year. (HT Photo)

The biggest attraction in the note exhibition was Venezuelan note which will stop being legal tender from December 16 of this year. “The best part about the ban is that the whole country is given only 72 hours to exchange their currencies. We got 50 days and people are spewing venom,” Joshi added.

The South American country will ban its 100-Bolivare note.

Other nations who implemented notes ban
  • Zimbabwe (100 dollars in 2015)
  • Turkey (1,000,000 Lira in 2008)
  • Angola (1,000,000 Old Kwanza in 1999)
  • Azerbaijan (1,000 Manat in 2015)
  • Congo (5 Zaire note in 1998)
  • Pakistan (Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 1,000 on December 1, 2016)

Sanjay Joshi, in his 30 years of collection, has notes and coins of 193 countries and does exhibitions across the world.

Enthusiasts were awestruck at the collection dumbstruck of India’s legacy depicted in coins and notes.

“We didn’t know anything about even our country and discover that our neighbours demonetised their note just some days back. It is very fascinating to know,” Aditi Shirname, a student and an enthusiast.

Turkish currency 1,000,000 Lira got demonetised in 2008. (HT Photo)
Demonetisation around the globe
  • Where: Zimbabwe Why: To stem inflation that had eroded the value of its dollar What happened: The country’s President Robert Mugabe issued edicts to ban inflation that had led to printing of a trillion dollar note.
  • Where: Ghana Why: To tackle tax evasion and excess liquidity that made people invest in physical assets which hit the economy. What happened: The economy collapsed and the government had to ditch the 50 cedis note
  • Where: Nigeria Why: A change in government in 1984 led to a new currency and banning of old notes. What happened: Steep inflation crimped the ability to adapt to the change in the currency and the economy suffered.
  • Where: Pakistan Why: The neighbouring country will phase out old notes by this year end to bring in new designs. What happened: The exercise has been done in a gradual manner with citizens given more than a year’s time.
  • Where: North Korea Why: In 2010, the government erased two zeros from the face value of old currencies to prevent black market. What happened: The measure impacted the fragile controlled economy and there were countrywide shortages of food.
  • Where: Soviet Union Why: During the reforms programme in 1991, then President Mikhail Gorbachev ordered the withdrawal of large denomination bills to curtail black market. What happened: It sparked mass protests, triggered a coup and brought down his government.
  • Where: Myanmar Why: Again black market was cited as the reason to demonetize 80% of the value of the money. What happened: Economic disruption and mass protests
  • Where: AustraliaWhy: To stop counterfeiting, the country became the first to issue plastic currency notes. What happened: It did not impact the economy as the move just replaced paper currency with plastic.

Apart from demonetised notes, there were coins that dated back to 300 BC to as new as 2011 CE and notes minted during Indo-Portuguese and Indo-British times.

“These coins and notes are a huge part of our history. Even coins had importance during that particular time,” said Parimal Modak, another student who came for the exhibition.

“There was a coin smaller than a button, inscribed in Arabic. Had we not come here, we would have remained oblivious to some great information. This helped me understand demonetisation better,” he added.

The exhibition will be continued every day till December 18 from 10am to 7pm.

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