You sure have heard of the Titanic, but does the SS Breda ring a bell? One exhibit at the RBI Monetary Museum is a bank note paper that was salvaged from a wrecked ship called SS Breda. During WW II, bank notes were still being imported from England and the bank note for printing the R5 note came from a company based in Hampshire. As the story goes, this particular ship that was carrying the bank notes was captured by the Germans in 1940 on its way to Mumbai. The sheet on display remained intact for 50 years under water before it was rescued.
The bank note might be there just to be observed, but there is also something you can take home with you. Printed pamphlets with the history of the currency notes in India right from the British Raj to the present day will add to your knowledge of India’s monetary history.
If all the numbers and facts are getting to you, sit at the interactive screen in the middle of the museum and quiz yourself on the knowledge you have just soaked in. PV Radhakrishnan, curator of the museum said, “Every three to six months, the RBI plans to have thematic displays to focus on one aspect of the evolution of money in India”.
By Pooja Das Sarkar on March 16 2012 6.32am
Photos by Chirodeep Chaudhuri