The Story of Cash

Initially East India Company coins were minted in England and shipped to the East.  In England over time the word ‘Cash’ was adopted from the Tamil word “Kasu”, meaning ‘a coin’.  East India Company coinage had both Urdu and English writing on it, to facilitate its use within trade.  In 1671 the directors of The East India Company ordered a mint to be established at Bombay, known as Bombain.  In 1677 this was sanctioned by The Crown, the coins, having received royal sanction were struck as silver Rupees; the inscription runs The Rupee of Bombaim, by authority of Charles II.

At about this time coins were also being produced for The East India Company at the Madras mint.  The currency at The Company’s Bombay and Bengal administrative regions was The Rupee.  At Madras, however, The Company’s accounts were reckoned in “Pagodas”, “Fractions”, “Fanam”, “Faluce” and “Cash”.  This system was maintained until 1818 when the Rupee was adopted as the unit of currency for The Company’s operations, the relation between the two systems being 1 Pagoda equaling 3-91 Rupees and 1 Rupee equaling 12 Fanams.

Over time, coins of The East India Company achieved an almost universal circulation in India.  The use of a national single value of Cash facilitated internal trade between the regions, laying foundations for a national commercial system.