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Miscellany

Languages on Indian currency notes

To give someone an idea of the number of languages used in India, I tell them that on every currency note, the denomination is written in at least 15 languages besides English and Hindi. If someone shows interest beyond that, I have a 20-rupee note available to show them.
This is another matter that having these languages on the currency notes is more of a formality than something actually useful. I don’t know if anyone actually notices the text in those languages, and definitely no one reads the denomination in their own language. Still, let us take a look at the languages on my twenty rupee note. I can recognize most of the scripts, except I can’t tell between the four south Indian languages. Telling Asomiya (Assamese) from Bangla is also hard. Fortunately, the languages are in alphabetical order, so it is not hard to take a good guess. So, I am filling in what I can read. I would appreciate any help from people who can read the rest of them, or can correct what I have written.
languages on an Indian RupeeAsomiya – kudi taka
Bangla – kudi taka
Gujarati – vees rupiya
Kannada – ??? ippattu rupaayigalu*
Kashmiri – vuh rop’yi
Konkani – vees rupaya
Malayalam – ??? irupat rupaa**
Marathi – vees rupaye
Nepali – bees rupiyan
Oriya – ??? bakaadas takaa***
Panjabi – veeh rupaye
Sanskrit – vimshati rupyakaaNi
Tamil – ??? irupadu rupaay*
Telugu – ??? iruvadi rupaayalu*
Urdu – bees rupaye
Another thing worth noticing is that (at least) in Assamese and Bangla, the word Taka is written instead of Rupee. Taka seems to be the generic word for a currency note in Bangla, and is the currency of Bangla Desh. But, shouldn’t the Rupee officially be called a Rupee no matter what the language? If someone asked a Bangla speaker what the currency of India was, what would they say – Rupee or Taka? What about Oriya? And Maithili, a newly added official language? Call a dollar a buck or a smacker or a greenback, but officially it remains a dollar.
Looking at the latest list of national languages of India, my rupee bill is missing four languages – Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali. Looks like the newer notes are going to have a smaller font.
Another interesting bit of info from Wikipedia on the origin of the word “dollar”:

The name Thaler (from thal, or nowadays usually tal, “valley” or Sanskrit “bottom”) came from the German coin Guldengroschen (“great guilder”, being of silver but equal in value to a gold guilder…


Related: This post in Hindi | Mile Sur Mera Tumhara