Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Banknotes of India for Burma


BANKNOTES OF INDIA FOR BURMA
Burma had no banking business and did not issue any banknotes before the annexation by the British Empire.  Following the three Anglo-Burmese annexations, Burma was incorporated into the British Empire, not as an independent new colony, but as a province of India.  Banknotes of India were used in Burma following the British occupation of lower Burma in 1824.  The notes that were circulated in Burma during that period were issued by the Presidency Banks of Bengal, Bombay and Madras until 1862.  After the Indian Paper Money Act was passed, the issue and circulation of banknotes in India was taken over by the Government of India in March 1862.  The banknotes of Government of India were circulated in Burma and the Currency Department had a circle of issue at Rangoon, which was established in 1882.  These Government of India notes were in circulation till 1938, followed by the Reserve Bank of India notes specific to Burma and then the Overprinted India notes of Reserve Bank of India.


Government of India – Uniface 10 Rupees
Green Underprint – Rangoon Circle


BANKNOTES AFTER BURMA-INDIA SEPARATION:

Following the British annexation, movements towards independence grew steadily among the people.  In April 1937, the implementation of the Government of Burma Act (1935) brought about the long-awaited separation of Burma from British India.  Burma was separated from India but still remained under British rule on April 1, 1937.


The separation of Burma from British India necessitated legislation to amend The Reserve Bank of India Act.  Thus emerged ‘The India and Burma (Burma Monetary Arrangements) Order, 1937’, along with the Government of Burma Act.  The Monetary Arrangements Order essentially set out the legislative changes required to make the Reserve Bank of India the Central Bank for the two countries.


The Reserve Bank of India Act was passed by the Indian Legislature and granted consent by the Governor General in 1934 and the Reserve Bank of India was established in 1935.  The Reserve Bank of India was a privately owned institution modelled on the Bank of England.  Although The Reserve Bank of India was to manage the currency of Burma and also continue to carry on the business of banking in Burma, it was still subject to the provisions of ‘The India and Burma (Burma Monetary Arrangements) Order, 1937’.


The standard monetary unit was to be the Rupee for both Burma and India. The Government of India still retained the right of coinage.  The sole right to issue banknotes in Burma was given to the Reserve Bank of India since the Government of Burma was prohibited from issuing any currency notes on their own.

There was also an obligation to issue a separate series of Burma banknotes.  The newly established Reserve Bank of India did not issue any notes of its own for Burma and continued with the circulation of the existing Government of India notes until 1938.  As an interim measure before the first distinctive Burma notes were ready, the Monetary Order permitted the use of Government of India Portrait Notes of King George V of denominations 5, 10 and 100 Rupees overprinted in black with the words “Legal Tender In Burma Only” as a stop-gap measure as a Provisional Issue.



Provisional Issue - Government of India – 10 Rupees – obverse
with black overprint LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY


Government of India – 10 Rupees – reverse
with black overprint LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY


The black overprint merged with the colour of the note and was not distinctive.  Since the black overprint was not prominent, it was decided to withdraw the notes with black overprints and exchanged them with notes of red overprint.  This happened during the second half of 1937.  


Government of India – 10 Rupees – obverse
with red overprint LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY

Government of India – 10 Rupees – reverse
with red overprint LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY

The lower denomination notes of 5 and 10 Rupees of the black overprinted notes were exchanged with the red overprinted notes and destroyed.  
However, the denomination of 100 Rupees, the exchange was made by cutting out the lower left hand quarter and retaining it for accounting purpose.  The date on which it was exchanged was recorded with a seal on the reverse of the quarter note.  This quarter note was never used as emergency money or as 25 Rupees.  The remaining 3/4th of the note was destroyed.  Therefore we do not get to observe the remaining 3/4th of these notes. 
Government of India – 100 Rupees - obverse - lower left-hand quarter

Government of India – 100 Rupees - reverse of lower left-hand quarter
having seal with date of exchange 7-9-37


It was also a common practice in Burma to retain the lower left corner of the note for denominations 100, 1000 and 10,000 Rupees for accounting purposes when these Government of India notes were exchanged for Reserve Bank of India “peacock” notes.


Government of India – 1000 Rupees – obverse lower left-hand quarter



There was also demand for notes of denomination 1000 Rupees.  These 1000 Rupees notes with the Portrait of King George V were stamped with a red hand seal on the obverse and the reverse of the Government of India notes of Rangoon Circle.  They bear the serial numbers between X/6-090001 to X/6-100000.



Government of India – 1000 Rupees – obverse
with red overprint LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY

Government of India – 1000 Rupees – reverse
with red overprint LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY





New banknotes for both India and Burma were designed and printed at the Nasik Security Printing Press. The first distinctive Burma notes were issued in May 1938, popularly known as ‘Peacock Notes’.

Reserve Bank of India – 100 Rupees – obverse
Banknote for Burma with Peacock motif



Reserve Bank of India – 100 Rupees – reverse
Banknote for Burma with tusker elephant motif



The name ‘Rupee’ was retained as the official name of Burma’s currency.  The new ‘Peacock Notes’ issued by the Reserve Bank of India carry the promise text ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of _______ Rupees at any office of issue in Burma’.  In other words, the Burma notes were not legal tender in India.  Burma notes had three languages - English, Burmese and Shan.  Commencing in 1938 until July 1939 there were five denominations of Burma notes in circulation Rupees 5, 10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000 with the portrait of King George VI and all signed by J. B. Taylor on the obverse.  The notes were with distinctive design features of Burmese motifs of peacock, tusker elephant, prowling tiger, sailing dhow, ox-carts and waterfall.





Reserve Bank of India – 5 Rupees – obverse - Banknote for Burma with Peacock motif


Reserve Bank of India – 5 Rupees – reverse - Banknote for Burma with tusker elephant motif


Reserve Bank of India – 10 Rupees – obverse
Banknote for Burma with Ox Cart motif



Reserve Bank of India – 10 Rupees – reverse
Banknote for Burma with Sailing Dhow motif

Reserve Bank of India – 1000 Rupees – obverse


Reserve Bank of India – 1000 Rupees – reverse
Banknote for Burma with prowling tiger motif


In the period between 1938 and 1952 there were four kinds of legal tender notes:

·       The Government of India notes.

·       The Government of India Provisional Issue Overprinted Banknotes which were in circulation until 1950.

·       The Reserve Bank of India Peacock Notes for Burma.

·       The Reserve Bank of India notes with Portrait of King George VI with the overprint ‘Military Administration of Burma’ and the ‘Burma Currency Board’ in denominations of 5, 10 and 100 Rupees and Government of India 1 Rupee Notes.


In 1938, the Reserve Bank of India issued a new series of notes for circulation in India with the portrait of King George VI in denominations of 5, 10, 100, 1000 and 10,000 Rupees, with the monetary value in eight languages, including Burmese on the reverse.


The subsequent Japanese occupation and liberation of Burma during World War II saw Burma placed under a Military Administration that gradually gave way to a Civilian Rule in 1946.  Both the Military Administration and the Burma Currency Board constituted under civilian Government used overprinted Reserve Bank of India notes in denominations of 5, 10 and 100 Rupees for circulation in Burma.  The Reserve Bank of India notes were overprinted ‘Military Administration of Burma Legal Tender in Burma Only’ were issued in 1945 and withdrawn in June 1950.  The Reserve Bank of India notes of 5, 10 and 100 Rupees were also overprinted ‘Burma Currency Board Legal Tender in Burma Only’ issued in 1947 and withdrawn in June 1952.  The 5 Rupees was overprinted in black, 10 and 100 Rupees were overprinted in red in both cases.  In the language panel on the reverse of the 10 Rupees note, the denomination is not mentioned in Burmese.  The denomination is overprinted in Burmese in red on the obverse of the note.
Reserve Bank of India – 10 Rupees – obverse with red overprint of denomination in Burmese
and MILITARY ADMINISTRATION OF BURMA LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY

Reserve Bank of India – 10 Rupees – reverse without Burmese in the language panel

The Government of India 1 Rupee notes overprinted in red ‘Military Administration of Burma Legal Tender in Burma Only’ were issued in 1945 and withdrawn in June 1950.  These were used for the Armed Forces only.  The Government of India 1 Rupee notes overprinted in red ‘Burma Currency Board Legal Tender in Burma Only’ were issued in 1947 and withdrawn in June 1952.  These were used for Burmese Nationals and Civilians only.
The Reserve Bank of India closed its operations in Burma in September 1946.  With the attainment of political independence by Burma, the Government of Burma terminated with effect from July 1, 1948, the legal tender character in Burma of the Reserve Bank ‘India’ notes and the Government of India one rupee notes without the superscription ‘legal tender in Burma only’.  With effect from June 1, 1950, the Government of Burma divested the old overprinted pre-war Burma notes as well as the Burma notes of distinctive design issued by the Rangoon Office of the Bank and the Burma Military Administration notes issued since 1945 first by the Burma Military Administration and later by the Government themselves, of their legal tender character in Burma.
The overprinted India notes issued by the Burma Currency Board ceased to be legal tender in Burma with effect from December 29, 1952.


Reserve Bank of India – 100 Rupees – obverse with red overprint
BURMA CURRENCY BOARD LEGAL TENDER IN BURMA ONLY

Reserve Bank of India – 100 Rupees – reverse



Under an Act which came into effect on October 1, 1947, the Union Bank of Burma was established with the obligation to act as banker to the Government and to manage the public debt.  It could also act as the agent of the Currency Board on terms mutually agreed upon and approved by the Governor of Burma.
All Government of India and Reserve Bank of India issues for Burma were withdrawn in June 1950.

by REZWAN RAZACK
coAuthor – ‘The Revised Standard Reference Guide to Indian Paper Money’
Chairman, IBNS India Banknote Collectors Chapter IBNS # 9733
Tel: +91‐80‐25591080 / +91‐80‐25001124


5 comments:

percysigan said...

Excellent Blog with so much details and illustrations on these Burmese notes. Very well researched Sir. Congratulations.

rajnish singh said...

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supratim ray said...

I have a banknote of 90 Kyats issued by Union Bank of Burma, serial no. BO 7839830. Can anybody let me informed that what is the exact period of this?

Kunal Arora said...

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Kanaha Suryawanshi said...

I have 10 Rs Burma note sign by j.b.taylor I want sell my contact number 7972889146