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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 23, p. v.


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INTRODUCTORY NOTES
the exchange value of the rupee to 1s. 4d., and then introduce a gold
standard (though not necessarily a gold currency) at the rate of Rs. 15
= £ 1. This policy has been completely successful. From 1899 on-
wards the value of the rupee has been maintained, with insignificant
fluctuations, at the proposed rate of 1s. 4d.; and consequently since
that date three rupees have been equivalent to two rupees before 1873.
For the intermediate period, between 1873 and 1899, it is manifestly
impossible to adopt any fixed sterling value for a constantly changing
rupee. But since 1899, if it is desired to convert rupees into sterling,
not only must the final cipher be struck off (as before 1873), but
also one-third must be subtracted from the result. Thus Rs. i,ooo
_ £loo-a = (about) £67.
Another matter in connexion with the expression of money state-
ments in terms of rupees requires to be explained. The method of
numerical notation in India differs from that which prevails through
out Europe. Large numbers are not punctuated in hundreds of thou-
sands and millions, but in lakhs and crores. A lakh is one hundred
thousand (written out as 1,00,000), and a crore is one hundred lakhs
or ten millions (written out as 1,oo,oo,ooo). Consequently, accord-
ing to the exchange value of the rupee, a lakh of rupees (Rs. 1,00,000)
may be read as the equivalent of £1o,ooo before 1873, and as the
equivalent of (about) £6,667 after 1899; while a crore of rupees
(Rs. 1,00,00,000) may similarly be read as the equivalent of
£ r,ooo,ooo before 1873, and as he equivalent of (about) £666,667
after 1899.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the rupee is divided into
16 annas, a fraction commonly used for many purposes by both
natives and Europeans. The anna was formerly reckoned as 12d. ;
it may now be considered as exactly corresponding to rd. The
anna is again subdivided into 12 pies.
The various systems of weights used in India combine uniformity
of scale with immense variations in the weight of units. The scale
used generally throughout Northern India, and less commonly in
Madras and Bombay, may be thus expressed: one maund = 40 seers;
one seer= 16 chittaks or 8o tolas. The actual weight of a seer
varies greatly from District to District, and even from village to
village; but in the standard system the tola is 180 grains Troy
(the exact weight of the rupee), and the seer thus weighs 2•057 lb.,
and the maund 82•28 lb. This standard is used in official reports
and throughout the Gazetteer.
For calculating retail prices, the universal custom in India is to
express them in terms of seers to the rupee. Thus, when prices
change, what varies is not the amount of money to be paid for the
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