Docile Indians …
Till August 15th, 1947, no king or ruler was able to impose any kind of currency monopoly by fiat in India. A unique aspect in economic history.
Absence of fiat currency was one of the cornerstones of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra– the classical system of polity, by which India was governed. भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra worked on four freedoms – धर्म (dharma – justice), अर्थ (arth – wealth and means), काम (kaam – human desires) मोक्ष (moksha – liberty) and three rights – ज़र (jar – gold), जन (jan – human ties) and जमीन (jameen – property) for all.
This multiple-currency system passed into common parlance with idioms – like in Hindi, उसका सिक्का चलता है ‘uska sikka chalta hai’. Meaning ‘abc’s coinage is commonly accepted’. This idiom is now used to indicate a man of position, authority and standing in local community.
Thus coinage and currency, which play such an important technical role in historical research, becomes less than important in India.
Crossroads of the world
Takshashila, (Taxiles/a in Greek) at the cross-roads of the उत्तरपथ Uttarapath (known today as the Silk Route) and दक्षिणपथ Dakshinapath, was crucial to world economy. Takshashila’s system of guild-banking, hundis, deposits, currencies, corpus kept the world economy oiled and moving. Takshashila, close to the ancient cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa, also possibly retained the knowledge of alloying, maybe even extracting, nickel – which ‘modern’ science achieved in 1751.
But that is yet another puzzle in history.