Debit and Credit- Tales of Gong and Ward

The Currency Identity

Posted on: August 15, 2010

Gong and Ward are standing in a queue outside an Information technology Park in Old Mahabalipuram Road.

Ward: This is the major reason which annoys me prior to going for the audit of an ITES company.

Gong: Which reason?

Chennai Ascendas

Ward: The Red Tape one has to witness and suffer to gain entry in the Tech parks and the number of visitor cards and Identity cards one has to sling over their necks.

Gong: Dude! Are you ShahRukh Khan? Even he keeps cribbing over wearing identity cards. For that matter he cribs over each and every issue prior to the release of a movie of his.

Ward: Well My name is Ward and I am not a terrorist. I have come here to do an audit not blow buildings in these IT Parks.

Gong: Well, Both are equally dangerous and fatal. Talking about identity, the Re. has a new makeover.

Ward: Yeah Roman meets Devnagri. R without a stem and Ra [in hindi] with branches. The roots of the new identity have been traced to a Gentleman Uday Kumar from Tamil Nadu who has been studying and teaching all across the country.

Minus Stem and with Branches

Gong: It makes me wonder about the roots of the Elite currency symbols.

Ward: Well, it is an interesting topic. The € was developed about a decade back by a group of designers whose identity has not been revealed. The € is the stylized version of the greek alphabet. It was chosen as an apt symbol for the common currency of Europe as Greece is widely accepted and acknowledged for influencing European Ideas and civilization.

Greek Civilisation

Gong: Interestingly the Euro crisis has also been blamed on the inefficiency of Greek governments. [Glances at the queue lying ahead] Long ways ahead, tell me about the origins of other currencies.

Ward: The ₤ interestingly has Italian roots. Strangely, The Bard Shakespeare mentioned in his play, “The Merchant of Venice” that merchants demand a Pound of Flesh for contractual obligations.

Gong: So how do Italian merchants or Italy for that matter of fact influence the Sterling ₤. The two vertical lines striking the L.

Ward:  The L in the pound stands for Lira, the former currency of Italy.

Gong: Hey that is unique. The currency of Italy being symbolized by Great Britain.

Ward: Actually, it is not an uncommon practice. The Yen has been influenced by the Yuan, the Chinese currency. Both the countries used to assert their right over ¥, however Japan’s earlier economic superiority and currency convertibility has ensured that the World recognizes ¥ as Yen and not Yuan.

Gong: What about Uncle Sam’s Dollars?

Ward: The story of USD and its symbol has a trace of colonial history. Well you might be aware that the Spanish Empire had funded Christopher Columbus’ trip to India before he supposedly landed on India and instead discovered a New Land which we all know as America. The Spanish currency Pesos had a high influence in America. The money circulated in America was known as Spanish dollars. The pesos were symbolized by P to the power S. To avoid confusion between Spanish and American currencies S was introduced to symbolize dollars. The two vertical lines symbolize the Spanish coat of arms. However we are thankfully about to approach the Security personnel, hence would like to stop now.

Gong: Well, How did you come to know so much about the origins of the various symbols?

Ward [while taking out his Identity card for verification]: Wikipedia is the one of the few sites which is not blocked by the client. [Both laugh out loud]

This article appeared on Prime Academy’s monthly Newsletter GRAFFITI. The issue focuses on Rupee’s new identity.


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