Silver rupee of Shah Alam II – Banaras


Year: 1222 AH (1807-1808 AD)

Regnal year: 49

Weight: 11.29 g

Mint: Banaras (Muhammadabad)


Sikka Zad bar Haft Kishvar

Saya-e-Fazl Ilah


Shah Alam Badshah


सिक्का ज़द बर हफ़्त किशवर

साया-ए-फ़ज़्ल इलाह


शाह आलम बादशा

سکہ زد بر ہفت کشور

سایہ فضل الہ

حامی دین محمد

شاہ عالم بادشاہ

Struck this Coin in the Seven Climes

the Shadow of the Divine Favour

The Defender of Faith of Muhammad

Shah Alam Badshah


सात क्षेत्र में यह सिक्का ढाला

ईश्वरीय कृपा की छाया में

मुहम्मद के धर्म का रक्षक

शाह आलम बादशा

سات اقلیم میں یہ سکہ ڈھالا

الہی فضل کی چھایا میں


حامی دین محمد

شاہ عالم بادشاہ


Julus Manus Sanah 49 (17) Mimnat Zarb Banaras Muhammadabad

जुलूस मानूस सनह 49 (17)  मीमनत

ज़र्ब बनारस


جلوس مانوس سنہ 49 (17) میمنت ضرب بنارس

 محمد آباد

Struck in the year 49 of his reign of tranquil prosperity at Banaras, Muhammadabad

बनारस, मुहम्मदआबाद में शांत समृद्धि के उनचासवें वर्ष में ढाला गया

بنارس، محمد آباد میں پرسکون خوشحالی دور حکومت کے اننچاسوے سال میں ڈھالا گیا




Shah Alam II

Shah Alam II, born as Ali Gohar (reigned: 1759-1806) was the seventeenth Mughal emperor. After the killing of Alamgir II, Imad-ul-Mulk set up a new puppet, the grandson of Kam Bakhsh who was the youngest son of Aurangzeb, under the name of Shah Jahan III. After his brief rule of 282 days, the rightful heir, the son of Alamgir II, Shah Alam II was recognized as Emperor. Imad-ul-Mulk had also planned the assassination of young Shah Alam II, however he soon fled Delhi after the rise of Najib-ud-Daula of Rohilkhand and the Mughal army, which placed Shah Alam II as the Emperor. [i]

‘Sultanat-e-Shah Alam, Az Dilli ta Palam’, which means to ‘The empire of Shah Alam is from Delhi to Palam,’ is a proverb in Persian that reflects how diminished his authority was throughout his rule. Similar to the reign of his predecessors, his reign also experienced several invasions.

Under Shah Alam II, there were now eighty-one mints. This is accounted for by the fact that a sizable portion of Shah Alam II's coinage only indicate the nominal loyalty of independent States and European Companies.

The coin presents a beautiful Persian couplet on the obverse alongside Shah Alam’s name and title. The reverse displays the ‘Julus formula’ with the mint name of Banaras Muhammadabad.

In 1776, the East India Company acquired the mint at Banaras from the Nawab of Awadh. Rupees issued after 1193 AH (1779 AD) contain two regnal years: The regnal year 17 remains invariable and likely indicates the year in which the British acquired the mint. The other regnal year is the one which corresponds with the Hijri date.[ii]

The coin also has several ornamental symbols on both sides including the several flowers and a fish which seems to be related to the fish used in the flag and coat of arms of Awadh.

[i] Lane-Poole, S. (1892). The Coins of the Moghul Emperors of Hindustan. London.

[ii] B.Whitehead, R. (1914). Catalogue of Coins in the Panjab Museum, Lahore : Vol. II Coins of the Mughal Emperors. Oxford: Clarendon Press.