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By Dr. D. Raja Reddy, Historian 
  
Silver was the first metal which was used for making coins in India, this started with punch marked coins around 6th- 7th century BC (Fig.1). Other metals such as copper, lead, gold, potin, billon etc. were used next for the manufacture of coins in ancient India. Medieval Period which also coincided with the arrival of Islamic states witnessed the three tier system of coinage namely that of gold, silver and copper. The usual rate of exchange of these coinages varied but in general 8-10 silver were equivalent to one gold and forty copper were equal to one silver. In Deccan, the Vijayanagar and Bahmani kings in the Medieval Period followed this tradition of coinage though silver coinage was scarce during the rule of Vijayanagar kings. Bahmani rule was followed by Qutb Shahis (1518-1687 AD) in Golconda region. First coins were issued from Hyderabad in 1012 AH by Qutb Shahi ruler Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (1580-1611 AD) bearing the name as Darulsaltanat Haiderabad. Surprisingly, no silver coins are known of Qutb Shahi rulers and they issued mostly copper coins and rarely gold fanams. Mughals had designs over Deccan and  Shah Jahan reduced the status of Qutb Shahis to that of a tributary to the Mughal Empire from 1636 AD onwards by a “Treaty of Submission” (inquilab nama) signed by Abdullah Qutb Shah (1626-1672 AD). By this treaty Abdullah Qutb Shah surrendered the privilege of minting coins in his own name. He was also forced to mint Mughal coins made of silver and gold from Golconda mint and the dies for such coinage were provided by the Mughals.

 

By D. Bhaskara Rao, Curator, H E H The Nizam's Museum, Hyderabad

Photo Courtesy: H E H The Nizam's Museum, Hyderabad

Situated in the Purani Haveli, an ancestral palace of the Nizam, H E H The Nizam’s Museum showcases the artefacts and art objects presented to the Seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, on the occasion of the completion of twenty-five years of his reign as the Nizam of Hyderabad. All the citizens of the Hyderabad State joined together and celebrated the occasion on 13th February 1937 (instead of 1936) with great enthusiasm and in a befitting manner. On that occasion a cross-section of the community, distinguished persons both in and outside Hyderabad as well as associations, institutions, government departments and different communities, as a mark of respect to their Ruler, presented exquisite artefacts and be-jeweled objects, which forms the nucleus of the museum.

Text and Photos by P. Anuradha Reddy, Editor & Convener, INTACH Hyderabad Chapter

Silver - shining, shimmering, molten, malleable and overall beautiful is a subject of fascination for the viewer. By its very character it lends itself to be shaped by the hands of the craftsman into Objects of Desire. Silver is mostly produced as a by-product of Copper, Gold, Lead and Zinc refining.

Primetime Prism celebrates its 14th Anniversary with this issue and as always, in an effort to bring to its valued readers an important edition and collector’s book; this time takes a deep look at the history of silver, more so in Hyderabad. This anniversary exclusive is a specialized issue devoted entirely to Silver - the mesmerizing metal, that is as (if not more) popular as gold! 

Located within the heart of old Hyderabad to the south west of Charminar and Mecca Masjid, the Chowmahalla Palace was the royal seat of the Asaf Jah rulers (1724 to 1948) for the most magnificent period of their reign. This spectacular palace, among the finest royal edifices in India, served as the venue for most of the ceremonial functions of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams held gala state receptions and entertained British Viceroys and imperial emissaries for nearly two centuries. This is the Palace where the banquets were held so lavish that it took the servants a month’s time to just clean the crockery & cutlery. This Palace stands out for its intrinsic grandeur and invincible power. It is the replica of Shah of Iran’s Palace and was compared by the historians as a ‘Palace of Arabian Nights’.

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