Post the demonetisation exercise (fiasco or fiesta, you decide!), India has witnessed somewhat of a revolution in the minting of paper currency. Whether it has been the abolishment of high denomination notes to introduce even higher denomination ones, or the visually so appealing chromatic churn out of existing ones, the aftermath has been nothing short of a phenomenon.
However, the changing layouts of Indian currency notes is not so much of a recent introduction. Ever since paper notes were introduced in the economy, the glamour of cash has manifested itself in changing hues and trends.
Interestingly, the first currency note that was introduced in India was the Rs 10 note, that has witnessed numerous changes in design ever since its introduction. Check out how this humble piece of money has undergone transformation through times.
The First RBI Governor CD Deshmukh had introduced the first ever currency notes, those in Rs 10 denominations that witnessed the image of a Sailing Dhow in the reverse. The design was continued for several editions, some featuring the value in 8 languages in the language panel while later editions witnessed the depiction of the value in 5 additional languages. Except for slight variations in tinges and tints and a reduction in size across all denominations, the first issue did not witness any drastic changes in terms of layout.
Benegal Rama Rau, HVR Iyengar, PC Bhattacharya, LK Jha, S Jagannathan, KR Puri, M Narasimham, IG Patel, Manmohan Singh, Amitav Ghosh, RN Malhotra, S Venkitaramanan were the RBI Governors whose tenure witnessed the continuation of the design that had been the debutante in its fore.
Special Gandhi Issue
On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, special Rs 10 notes were issued featuring the Father of the Nation on the reverse during the tenures of Governors LK Jha and BN Adarkar.
The third in- line of designs to ‘inherit’ the glory of being featured on the 10 rupee currency notes were 2 peacocks, that was introduced even when the Sailing Dhow replica was still prevalent. RBI Governors who were witnesses to this design during their tenure were S Jagannathan, KR Puri, IG Patel, Manmohan Singh, RN Malhotra. Interestingly, the last projection of this particular design also witnessed birds, lotus, deer and horse on the reverse along with the peacock couple.
Shalimar Gardens Design
After the discontinuation of the design featuring peacocks, the next image to grace the reverse of the notes was the Shalimar Gardens. A complete deviation from the 10 rupees notes that were already in circulation in terms of its design, the newly introduced layout witnessed a more crisp and distinct outline and also looked distinctively striking because of its tint. S Venkitaramanan and C Rangarajan were the Governors whose names found way into these currencies from 1992 to 1997.
Though the changes in designs of paper currency had been evident all throughout, perhaps the most fundamental change in the overall look was introduced when the Gandhi series was introduced. These new 10 rupees notes now had images of Mahatma Gandhi replacing the Ashok emblem while the reverse depicted an elephant, a tiger and a rhino alongside a host of security features.
The Gandhi series continued for the longest time encompassing RBI Governors C Rangarajan, Bimal Jalan, YV Reddy, D Subba Rao, Raghuram Rajan and is still in existence. With the minting of paper currency up several times since its inception, the practice of mentioning the year of printing of the note ensued, starting with YV Reddy.
Beginning from 2011, the new ₹ symbol was introduced in all currency notes while telescopic numbering was introduced since 2016.
Since the current year, the notes of rupees 10 denomination have been introduced with a new design and a rich chocolate brown colour.
Rupees 10 notes were also prevalent in India when the country was under the British administration. The currency notes at that time bore the mark of the Government of India.