Silver Rupee of Fateh Shah

24 Jan 2018  Wed

Fateh Shah was the king of Garhwal, a small kingdom in North India, from 1686 to 1716.The kingdom of Garhwal had been a vassal of the Mughals and Fateh Shah could succeed only with Aurangzeb's approval. But by late 1680's Fateh Shah took advantage of the fact that the Emperor had been tied in long campaigns against the Marathas in the Deccan, and emerged as a very powerful ruler. He had been an ally of other resurgent leaders like the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, but local politics meant they also had a fight (1688).

This silver Rupee of Fateh Shah which weighs around 11.41g was minted at Srinagar. The obverse of the coin is inscribed with Persian legend ‘Sikka Zar Dahar Zad Chu Mihr Ayaan Sri Maharaja Fateh Shah Zamaan’ (Fateh Shah, the ruler of the world, struck this coin like explicit Sun in the Universe). The reverse of the coin is read as ‘Zarb Srinagar Samat (1)750 Shri Badrinath Sahaai’ (struck at Srinagar in Samvat 1750, by the grace of the illustrious Badrinath).

The dates on this coin are extremely significant because they mark the year of its issue as 1692-93, exactly the years which saw Fateh Shah's conquests. The striking of Mughal style coins in his own name was an act of great defiance. It can be viewed as a direct affront to Aurangzeb and an instrument or conscious demonstration of declaring independence by Fateh Shah. The reference to the grace of Badrinath ("Shri Badrinath Sahai") the Hindu Shaiva 'Jyotirlinga' shrine of which Fateh Shah was a great devotee is of immense significance when viewed against this backdrop.

This coin is listed at INR 10,00,000 to 15,00,000 at Classical Numismatic Gallery.

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