Beautiful & rare Indian Mughal King Akbar Nazarana coin..
The word Nazarana is derived from the Persian 'nazr' and means a presentation or tribute. On special occasions, Nazaranas or Nazars were presented to the king.
Akbar was the third ruler of the Mughal Dynasty in India from 1556 to 1605. He succeeded Humayun, and went on to become one the great Mughal Emperors to rule almost the entire Indian Subcontinent.
Nazrana or Nazrs, a Persian word, were presented to the Mughal king on special occasions. People who wanted to present nazars, would order, and buy the special struck coins from the mint. For the nazar or nazarana coins, an extra fee had to be paid as the production required extra work.
‘Nazr’ and ‘Nisar’ were important aspects of Mughal court ritual – often dignitaries would place a predetermined amount of sum, divided into specific components as Nazr and Nisar, on front of the ruler when they had an audience with the Emperor, either at a general court or Darbar, or at a private audience.
In regular or occasional Darbars or imperial assemblages, there was a regulated pecking order of who, and when places what amount.
Of these the sum presented as Nazr was a token to bring forth more favour in return. In its most simple form the favour could even be the ‘sight’ of the Emperor – even that was enough to bring forth good fortune. But in a more ritualised context it would of course be the role, the status, the wealth, the prestige, the property of the nobles all of which technically belonged to the Emperor.
We know that the King did give gifts to dignitaries – the 1000 mohur coin was struck as a gift fur example. So it is plausible that coins were specially produced to give as gifts to others by the king and here the term ‘Nazarana’ might be taken in a literal rather than a purely ritualised sense.
Apart from Nazr there were many other forms of court and audience rituals where money was exchanged under specific terms. ‘Gift economy’ was an important aspect of all administrative functioning – so for example ‘Shirnee’ (sweetener) or ‘Peshkash’ ( present), ‘bakhshish’ (blessing money) were all forms of gift giving which could be ritualised or non-ritualised and in all of which coins could be exchanged.
Producing coins specially would of course accrue more minting charges and we believe this itself could have a potential status connotation, so one would possibly get coins specially struck to show off irrespective of what channel they would follow in the ‘gift economy’ networks.
Almost all the Nazarana coins were returned within a fews days back to the mint again.
The beautiful, rare Akbar Nazarana coin above has the follow details:
Diameter: 25mm Flan.
Obverse- Allahu Akbar Jallejallahu (meaning “God is great. Glorified be his glory.”)
Reverse- Zarb Agra Ilahi Date 44 khurdad (Persian month of Khurdad).
*Special thanks to expert Mughal coin collector Dr. Abhishek Chatterjee for permission to publish his rare King Akbar’s Nazarana coin here.