Coin Hoard from Bhalur East
halur 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
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 ):
din ala Muhammad
fazal Shah Alam Padshah
bar haft kishwar
of the divine Faith; money [with the grace of] Shah Alam Badshah [struck]
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
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
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
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
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
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
The rupees of
Sardar Gurdev Singh Bhalur, the President of the
Gurdwara plans to display these historical coins for public view in the
shrine when completed.
taken by the author]