So This Is Where the Picture of Gandhi on Currency Notes Came From

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We’re all familiar with the smiling photo of Mahatma Gandhi ji on our currency notes. But have you ever wondered about the story behind that photograph? Contrary to popular belief that the photograph is a drawn caricature, it’s an actual photograph. It was taken when Gandhiji was standing next to Lord Frederick Pethick-Lawrence. Take a look.

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The photo, taken by an unknown photographer in the year 1946, shows Gandhiji smiling at an unknown person. The mirror image of the same is what made it’s way on the Indian currency notes. The photo was taken at the former Viceroy House which we now know as the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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It was taken at the former Viceroy House, which is now known as the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The mirror image of the original picture has been used on the Mahatma Gandhi Series of bank notes.

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Mahatma Gandhi series was introduced in 1996, less than 20 years ago. However the first note with Mahatma Gandhi on it was introduced in 1987. The existing series (introduced in 1976) did not include 500Rs Notes. A different design of 10 rs notes was introduced in 1992, though it did not belong to any series and neither did it feature Mahatma Gandhiji on it.
Prior to that in 1969 commemorative notes featuring Mahatma Gandhiji (1969 was Birth Centenary of Gandhiji) were introduced in denominations of Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 100. But these were commemorative notes and not the normal series. Only the reverse of the then existing series (Ashoka Column – second issue) was changed to incorporate Mahatma Gandhiji in the design.
But since you asked for the Notes before Mahatma Gandhi (series), here they are:

1976 Series:

Rs 2: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Aryabhat Satellite

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Rs 5: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: A Farmer ploughing his field with a Tractor

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Rs 10: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Peacocks

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Rs 20: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Wheel of Konark Temple, Konark, Odisha

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Rs 5o: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Parliament House, New Delhi

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Rs 100: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Achievements of Industrialised Agriculture

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The 500 Rs Note that was introduced in 1987. It wasnt part of the Mahatma Gandhi series.
Rs 500: Obverse: Mahatma Gandhi, Reverse: Dandi March

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The 10 Rs note that was Introduced, without being part of any series in 1992.
Rs 10: Obverse: Lion Capital, Reverse: Shalimar bagh, Jammu and Kashmir

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The 1976 series was better than the Gandhi series of 1996. Not because of Gandhiji (I admire him), but because of the vivid color comnbinations used, totally absent in Gandhi series.

Its time RBI introduces new series of notes. Its been almost 20 years now. Bored of seeing the same design! Seriously!

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