New Symbol, New India?

Posted on July 21, 2010

By Uzair Fahmi:

D. Udaya Kumar, an assistant professor at IIT Guwahati, has given modern India a new identity. His design for the Indian currency recently won the all India competition organized by the Govt. of India. India now enters an elite group of countries having their own currency symbols like US Dollar, Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen etc. The present symbol was selected over thousands of other symbols and the jury believed that this symbol most suitably epitomises the ethos and culture of the nation.

The adoption of a new symbol can be seen as an aggressive step by the Government to promote “Brand India” and internationalize the erstwhile unpopular Indian rupee. The symbol also symbolizes a growing economy and a powerful nation. India in last few years has been major player in issues of global importance and so a currency symbol is a befitting tribute to the ever-growing democracy called India. It also differentiates India from countries like Pakistan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka that also use rupee or rupiah as their currency.

The symbol has also faced severe criticism from people who believe that this just a shallow show of superiority on the part of Government and is basically a cover to undermine the important issues of unemployment, poverty and corruption. It is ironical that a country whose poor population may very well outnumber the entire population of many countries put together enforces a currency symbol to showcase its growing economic clout over the world. Also unlike the other currencies like Dollar, Euro etc, the Indian rupee is not fully convertible because of central bank policies and so is not frequently traded internationally as the rest. So are we justified in engaging in such an amour propre? The answer is up to you to decide.

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