Charting the Illahi Mints of Shah Jahan

Akbar established the Illahi Era as a part of his eclectic religious order Din-e-Illahi as an exercise towards syncretism naming the era of his reign as Illahi as opposed to the self-laudatory ‘Akbari’ or ‘Jalali’ dedicating it to the Almighty. Thus,
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    Charting the Illahi mints of Shah Jahan  –   a reappraisal of the Illahi Coinage of Shah Jahan -   Mahesh A. Kalra -   Asst. Prof./Curator -   Dinesh Mody Institute of Numismatics & Archaeology -   University of Mumbai Introduction Akbar established the Illahi Era as a part of his eclectic religious order Din-e-Illahi as an exercise towards syncretism naming the era of his reign as Illahi as opposed to the self-laudatory „ Akbari ‟  or „ Jalali ‟  dedicating it to the Almighty. 1  Thus, the Illahi Year commenced with the first month of Farwardin on March 21 according to the Gregorian calendar along with the Nauroz celebrations in a pompous fashion. This was denounced by the orthodox Ulema as a heretical act of the emperor as evidenced by Badauni‟s testimony in his work   which describes the faith as Tau ḥ íd-i-Iláhí in his work,   Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh , a candid critique of Akbar‟s reign   . 2 Jahangir relinquished the Illahi era in favour of the Hijri era as the official calendar but reinstated it as a special connotation for his regnal year along with the term  Julus. He also relished the celebration of the Naurūz  with great pomp and celebration thus displaying an ambivalent attitude to the whole issue . 3,4   Shahjahan however, abolished the use of the Illahi Year in all his official communications in favour of the Hijri Era to win the approbation of the Ulema and records of his reign according to all official chroniclers from his reign to Aurangzeb ‟s reign.   The continuation of using Illahi months on the coinage of Shah Jahan along with the use of the Solar Calendar to record the regnal years of his initial reign has been the subject of an intensive study by Prof. H. S. Hodivala, the savant of Mughal Numismatics in his compilation of articles on Mughal coinage. 4  However, the venerable scholar did not chart the various mints issuing this coinage with details of dates and months from surviving specimens of these coins in the collections of various museums. The current study attempts to map the various mints which issued the Illahi coinage with the listing of various coin specimens in various published catalogues. The study of various published catalogues of Indian Museums is important for two purposes    a)   to study the various mints issuing coins in Shah Jahan‟s reign with the name of the Illahi month in which they were issued and  b)   establishing the period for which each mint continued to issue coinage with this special feature till the practice was abandoned to confirm to Shah Jahan‟s orthodox belief in imposing the Hijra era. The best way to achieve these goals is to study the various specimens of Illahi coinage of Shah Jahan extant in the coin collections of various museums. The various collections studied for this include the published catalogues of the Central Museum, Nagpur  5, the Indian Museum, Calcutta 6 , the Panjab Museum, Lahore 7 , the Provincial Museum, Lucknow 8 , and the Provincial Coin Cabinet of Assam 9 . The Catalogue of the Central Museum, Nagpur lists the following mints which issued the Illahi coinage of Shah Jahan viz. Ahmadabad, Akbarabad (Agra with mint epithet  Dar-ul-Khilafat), Akbarnagar (Rajmahal), Allahabad, Burhanpur, Dehli, Jahangirnagar (Dacca), Katak (Cuttack), Lahore, Multan, Patna, Qandahar and Tatta (Thatta, Sindh). 5 The Catalogue of the Indian Museum, Calcutta adds other mints which issued Illahi coinage under Shah Jahan like Ahmadnagar (AR Rupee issued in 1041 A.H. Shahrewar) and Zafarnagar which H. Nelson Wright locates near Ahmadnagar. 6 The Catalogue of the Punjab Museum, Lahore lists a rare gold mohur from the Surat Mint (issued in Shah Jahan‟s 5 th  Regnal year in the Illahi month, Isfandarmuz) along with silver rupees from Bhakkar (Sindh) and Kashmir. 7 The Provincial Lucknow Museum also lists a rare silver rupee from Ajmer issued in 1041 A.H. in the Illahi month of Ā  b ā n. Thus, the entire list of these coins has been listed below collectively to study the subject in terms of its geographical spread (see Map); also they have been listed to study the collective data statistically. The collective data has been collected by adding the number of extant coins from each mint from all the five catalogues.    Mint No. of Illahi coins Regnal Year Range Remarks Ahmadabad 56 RY 1 to RY 6 RY 23(AE) Ahmadnagar 2 RY? Ajmer 1 RY 5? Akbarabad (Agra) 5 RY 1 to RY 2 Akbarnagar (Rajmahal) 32 RY 2 to RY 7 Allahabad (Illahabas) 9 RY 2 to RY 5 Bhakkar/Bakkar 7 RY 4 to RY 7 Burhanpur 7 RY 1 to RY 3 Dehli 4 RY 2? to RY 3 Jahangirnagar (Dacca) 15 RY 2 to RY 6 Katak (Cuttack) 3 RY1, RY 3 & RY 5 Kashmir 2 RY? Lahore 9 RY 2 to RY 3 Multan 36 RY 2 to RY 3 Patna 46 RY 2 to RY 5 Qandahar 1 RY 11? Surat 1 RY 5 Tatta 108 RY 2 to RY 33 Zafarnagar (S. Ahmadnagar) 3 RY 3 & RY 5    Map of Mints issuing Illahi coinage during Shah Jahan’s reign  (irrespective of Regnal Year range)    Barchart of extant coins of major mints issuing Illahi Coinage of Shah Jahan 020406080100120     A    H    M    A    D    A    B    A    D    A    K    B    A    R    N    A     G    A    R    J    A    H    A    N     G    I    R    N    A     G    A    R     M    U    L    T    A    N     P    A    T    N    A    T    A    T    T    A 56 32 15 36 46 108 6 7 6 3 5 33 Mint samplesRegnal Year Range
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