Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 28-36. Ed. *ZDJ*

Book 1, Chapter 10: The Coins of this Glorious Empire

As through the attention of his Majesty gold and silver have been brought to the greatest degree of purity, in like manner the form of the coins has also been improved.  The coins are now an ornament to the treasury, and much liked by the people. I shall give a few particulars.

A. Gold Coins

1.  The sahansah is a round coin weighing 101 tolas, 9 mashas, and 7 surkhs, in value equal to 100 la'l-i jalali muhrs. On the field of one side is engraved the name of his Majesty, and on the five arches in the border, As-sultanu 'l-a zamu 'l-khaqanu 'l-mu'azzu khallada Allah mulkahu wa sultana-hu zarbu dari 'l-khilafat-i Agra, "the great sultan, the distinguished emperor, may God perpetuate his kingdom and his reign! Struck at the capital Agra." On the field of the reverse is the beautiful formula, and the following verse of the Qur'an: Allahu yazraqu man yashau bi-ghayri hisabin, "God is bountiful unto whom He pleaseth, without measure"; and roundabout are the names of the first four Khalifas. This is what was first cut by Maulana Masqud, the engraver; after which Mulla 'Ali Ahmad made with great skill the following additions. On one side Afzalu dinarin yanfuqu-hu ar-rajulu dinarun yanfuquhu 'ala ashabihi fi sabili 'lah, "the best coin which a man expends is a coin which he spends on his co-religionists in the path of God."

And on the other side he wrote, As-sultanu 'l-Sali al-khalifatu al-muta'ali khallada allahu ta 'ala mulkahu wa sultanahu wa abada 'adlahu wa ihsanahu, "the sublime sultan, the exalted khalifa, may God the Almighty perpetuate his kingdom and his reign, and given eternity to his justice and bounty!"

Afterwards all this was removed, and the following two Ruba'is (quatrains) of the court-poet and philosopher Shaykh Fayzi were engraved by him. On the one side, 

Kurshid ki haft bahr azu gawhar yaft
 ang-I siyah az partav-I an jawhar yaft
Kan az nazar-i tarbiyat u zar yaft
W'an zar sharaf az sikka-yi Shah Akbar yaft

It is the Sun from which the seven oceans get their pearls,
The black rocks get their jewels from his luster.
The mines get their gold from his fostering glance,
And their gold is ennobled by Akbar's stamp.”

and, Allahu akbar jalla jallala-hu, "God is great, may His glory shine forth!" in the middle. And on the other side,
In sikka ki piraya-yi ummid burad
Ba naqsh-i davam u nam-i javid burad
Sima-yi sa’'adat-ash hamin bas ki bi-dahr
Yak zarra nazar-karda-yi khurshid burad

This coin, which is an ornament of hope,
Carries an everlasting stamp, and an immortal name.
As a sign of its auspiciousness, it is sufficient
That, once, for all ages the sun has cast a glimpse upon it.

and the date, according to the Divine era, in the middle.

2.    There is another gold coin, of the same name and shape, weighing 91 tolas and 8 mashas, in value equal to 100 round muhrs, at 11 mashas each. It has the same impression as the preceding.

3.    The Rahas is the half of each of the two preceding coins. It is sometimes made square. On one side it has the same impression as the sahansa, and on the other side the following Ruba'i by Fayzi:--

In naqd-i raven-i ganj-i shahinshahi
Ba kawkab-i iqbal kunah hamrahi
Khurshid bi-parvar-ash az an ru ki bi-dahr
Yabad sharaf az sikka-yi Akbarshahi.

This current coin of the Imperial treasure
Accompanies the star of good fortune
O sun, foster it, because for all ages
It is ennobled by Akbar’s stamp!

4.    The Atma is the fourth part of the sahansa, round and square.  Some have the same impression as the sahansa; and some have on one side the following Ruba'i by Fayzi:--
In sikka ki dast-i bakht ra zewar bad
Piraya-yi nuh sipihr u haft akhtar bad
Zarrin naqdist kar az-u chun zar bad
Dar dahr raven bi-nam-i shah akbar bad

This coin—May it adorn the hand of the fortunate,
And may it be and ornament of the nine heavens and the seven stars—
Is a good coin,-- May golden be its work!
Let it be current for all ages to the glory of Shah Akbar.

And on the other side preceding Ruba'i.

5.    The Binsat, of the same two forms as the atma, in value equal to one-fifth of the first coin.

There are also gold coins of the same shape and impression, in the value equal to one-eighth, one-tenth, one-twentieth, one twenty-fifth, of the sahansa.

6.    The Chugul, of a square form, is the fiftieth part of the sahansa, in value equal to two muhrs.

7.    The round La'l-i Jalali, in weight and value equal to two round muhrs, having on one side Allahu akbar, and on the other Ya mu 'inu, "O helper."

8.    The Aftabi is round, weighs 1 tola, 2 mashas, and 4.75 surkhs, in value equal to 12 rupees. On one side, Allahu akbar, jalla jalalu-hu, and on the other the date according to the Divine era, and the place where it was struck.

9.    The Ilahi  is round, weighs 12 mashas, 1.75 surkhs, bears the same stamp as the Aftabi, and has a value of 10 rupees.

10.  The square La'l-i Jalali is of the same weight and value; on one side Allahu akbar, and on the other jalla jalalu-hu.

11.  The 'Adl-gutka is round, weighs 11 mashas, and has a value of nine rupees. On one side Allahu akbar, and on the other, Ya mu'inu.

12.  The Round muhr, in weight and value equal to the Adl-gutka, but of a different stamp.

13.  Mihrabi is in weight, value, and stamp, the same as the round muhr.

14.  The Mu'ini is both square and round. In weight and value it is equal to the La'l-i jalali, and the round muhr. It bears the stamp ya mu'in.

15.  The Chahargosha, in stamp and weight the same as the Aftabi.

16.  The Gird is the half of the Ilahi, and has the same stamp.

17.  The Dhan is half a La'l-i Jalali.

18.  The Salimi is the half of the 'Adl-gutka.

19.  The Rabi is a quarter of the Aftabi.

20.  The Man is a quarter of the Ilahi, and Jalali.

21.  The Half-Salimi is a quarter of the 'Adl-gutka.

22.  The Panj is the fifth part of the Ilahi.

23.  The Pandau is the fifth part of the La'l-i Jalali; on one side is a lily, and on the other a wild rose.

24.  The Sumni, or Ashtsidd, is one-eighth of the Ilahi; on one side Allahu akbar, and on the other jalla jalala-hu.

25.  The Kala is the sixteenth part of the Ilahi.  It has on both sides a wild rose

26.  The Zara is the thirty-second part of and Ilahi and has the same stamp as the kala.

As regards gold coins, the custom followed in the imperial mint is to coin La'l-I jalalis, Dhans, and Mans, each coin for the space of a month. The other gold coins are never stamped without special orders.

Silver Coins

1.   The Rupiya is round, and weighs eleven and one half mashas. It was first introduced in the time of Sher Khan. It was perfected during this reign, and received a new stamp, on one side, Allahu akbar, jalla jalalu-hu," and on the other the date. Although the market price is sometimes more or less than forty dams, yet this value is always set upon it in the payment of salaries.
2.    The Jalala is of a square form, which was introduced during the present reign. In value and stamp it is the same as No. 1.
3.    The Darb is half a Jalala.
4.    The Charn is a quarter Jalala.
5.    The Pandau is a fifth of the Jalala.
6.    The Asht is the eighth part of the Jalala.
7.    The Dasa is one-tenth of the Jalala.
8.    The Kala is the sixteenth part of the Jalala.
9.    The Suki is one-twentieth of the Jalala.
The same fractional parts are adopted for the [round] Rupiya, which are, however, different in form.

Copper Coins

1.    The Dam weighs 5 taks, i.e. 1 tola, 8 mashas, and 7 surkhs; it is the fortieth part of the Rupiya. At first this coin was called Paisa, and also Buhloli; now it is known under this name (dam). On one side the place is given where it was struck, and on the other the date.

For the purpose of calculation, the dam is divided into twenty-five parts, each of which is called a jetal. This imaginary division is only used by accountants.
2.    The Adhela is half of a dam.
3.    The Pa'ola is a quarter dam.
4.    The Damri is one-eighth of a dam.
In the beginning of this reign, gold was coined to the glory of his Majesty in many parts of the empire; now gold coins are struck at four places only, viz. at the seat of the government, Bengal, Ahmadabad (Gujrat), and Kabul. Silver and copper are likewise coined in these four places, and besides in the following ten places: Ilahabad, Agra, Ujain, Surat, Dihli, Patna, Kashmir, Lahore, Multan, Tanda. In twenty-eight towns copper coins only are struck, viz. Ajmir, Avadh, Atak, Alwar, Bada'on, Banaras, Bhakkar, Bahirah, Patan, Jaunpur, Jalandhar, Hardwar, Hisar, Firuza, Kalpi, Gwaliyar, Gorakhpur, Kalanur, Lakhnau, Mandu, Nagor, Sarhind, Siyalkot, Saronj, Saharanpur, Sarangpur, Sambal, Qanawj, Rantanbhur.

Mercantile affairs in this country are mostly transacted in round muhrs, rupiyas, and dams.

Unprincipled men cause a great deal of mischief by rubbing down the coins or by employing similar methods; and, in consequence of the damage done to the nation at large, his Majesty continually consults experienced men, and from his knowledge of the spirit of the age, issues new regulations in order to prevent such detrimental practices.

The currency underwent several changes. First, when (in the 27th year) the reins of the government were in the hands of Raja Todarmal, four kinds of muhrs were allowed to be current; A. There was a La'l-i Jalali, which had the name of his Majesty stamped on it, and weighed 1 tola, 1.75 surkhs. It was quite pure, and had a value of 400 dams. Again, there existed from the beginning of this glorious reign, a muhr with the imperial stamp, of which three degrees passed as current, viz.: B. This muhr, when perfectly pure, and having the full weight of 11 mashas. Its value was 360 dams. If from wear and tear it had lost in weight within three grains of rice it was still allowed to be of the same degree, and no difference was made. C. The same muhr, when it had lost in weight from four to six rice grains; its value was 355 dams. D. The same muhr, when it had lost in weight from six to nine rice grains; its value was 350 dams.

Muhrs of less weight than this were considered as bullion.

Of Rupiyas, three kinds were then current, viz.: A. one of a square form, of pure silver, and weighing 11.5 mashas; it went under the name of Jalala, and had a value of 40 dams. B. The round, old Akbarshahi rupiya, which, when of full weight, or even at a surkh less, was valued at 39 dams. C. The same rupees, when in weight two surkhs less, at 38 dams.

Rupees of less weight than this were considered as bullion.

Secondly, on the 18th Mihr of the 29th year of the Divine era, 'Azudu 'd-Daulah Amir Fathu 'llah of Shiraz coming at the head of affairs, a royal order was issued, that on the muhrs, as far as three grains; and on the rupiyas, as far as six grains short weight, no account should be taken, but that they should be reckoned of full weight. If muhrs were still less, they should make a deduction for the deficiency, whatever their deficiency might be; but it was not ordered that only muhrs down to nine grains less should be regarded as muhrs. Again, according to the same regulation, the value of a muhr that was one surkh deficient was put down as 355 dams and a fraction; and hence they valued the price of one surkh of coined gold at the low rate of four dams and a fraction. According to Todarmal's regulation, a deduction of five dams was made for a deficiency of one surkh; and if the muhr had lost something more than the three grains, for which he had made no account, even if it were only .5 surkh, full five dams were subtracted; and for a deficiency of 1.5 surkhs he deducted ten dams even if the deficiency should not be quite 1.5 surkhs. By the new law of 'Azudu 'd-Dawlah, the value of a muhr was lessened by six dams and a fraction, as its gold was worth 353 dams and a fraction only.

'Azudu 'd-Dawlah abolished also the regulation, according to which the value of a round rupiya had been fixed at one dam less than the square one, notwithstanding its perfection in weight and purity, and fixed the value of the round rupiya, when of full weight or not less than one surkh, at forty dams; and whilst formerly a deduction of two dams was made for a deficiency of two surkhs, they now deduct for the same deficiency only one dam and a fraction.

Thirdly, when 'Azudu 'd-Dawlah went to Khandesh, the Raja estimated the value of muhrs that had been expressed in Jalala rupees, in round rupees; and from his obstinate and wrangling disposition, fixed again the deficiencies on muhrs and rupees according to the old rates.

Fourthly, when Qulij Khan received the charge of the government he adopted the Raja's manner of estimating the muhrs; but he deducted ten dams for a deficiency in the weight of a muhr, for which the Raja had deducted five dams; and twenty dams for the former deduction of ten dams; whilst lie considered every muhr as bullion, if the deficiency was l.5 surkhs. Similarly, every rupiya, the deficiency of which was one surkh, was considered as bullion.

Lastly, his Majesty, trusting to his advisers and being occupied by various important affairs, paid at first but little attention to this subject, till after having received some intimation of the unsatisfactory state of this matter, he issued another regulation, which saved the nation further losses, and was approved of by every one, far and near. On the 26th of Bahman, of the year 36, according to the Divine era (A.D. 1592), he adopted the second [i.e. of 'Azudu 'd-Dawlah] method, with one exception namely, he did not approve of the provision that a muhr the deficiency of which did not exceed three, and a rupiya, the deficiency of which did not exceed six surkhs, should still be regarded as of full weight. And this regulation was the only effectual method for preventing the fraudulent practices of unprincipled men; for the former regulations contained no remedy in cases when the officers of the mint coined money of the above deficiency in weight, or when treasurers reduced full coins to the same deficiency. Besides, shameless thievish people made light grain weights, and used to reduce muhrs, deficient by three grains, to six grains deficiency, whilst they accepted muhrs six grains deficient as muhrs deficient by nine grains. This reduction of coins being continued, large quantities of gold were stolen, and the losses seemed never to end. By the command of his Majesty grain weights of babaghuri were made, which were to be used in weighing. On the same date other stringent regulations were issued, that the treasurers and revenue collectors should not demand from the tax-payers any particular species of coins, and that the exact deficiency in weight and purity, whatever it might be, should be taken according to the present rate and no more. This order of his Majesty disappointed the wicked, taught covetous men moderation, and freed the nation from the cruelty of oppressors.

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