This volume helps in understanding coins issued by different dynasties and kingdoms of Bengal from ancient to the early modern period. It provides illustrations of legends and in particular cases images or figures on both sides bf coins. Though this work is not an attempt to document new information to the history of Bengal, a couple of new numismatic discoveries have been discussed in the volume.
The focal point of the volume is on the coins that were in use as money in Bengal during Magadha Janapada, Gupta dynasty, Pala era, Harikela and Akara kingdoms, Sultanate and Nawabs' period and finally the early East India Company period. A few coins of the neighbouring kingdoms, have also been illustrated in the last chapter as they are supposed to have been in use in at least some parts of Bengal because of political, topographical and/or other reasons.
This volume would be of immense interest to scholars of South Asian numismatics and the history of the two Bengals.
Md. Shariful Islam is Professor at the Institute of Business Administration in the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh. He received his PhD degree from the University of Rajshahi. He is a life member of the Bangladesh Numismatic Collectors Society. His upcoming numismatic projects are dedi-cated to Bengal sultanate.
Md. Mosharrof Hossain is a staff reporter at the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), the national news agency of Bangladesh. He is a life member of the Bangladesh Numismatic Collectors
I AM A COLLECTOR of coins and my area of interest is Bengal- from the ancient to the early modern period. It was the beauty and varieties of coins of Bengal Sultanate era, which brought me to this area of numismatics. I have been studying coins of Bengal for the last seven or eight years and it has greatly helped me to understand the real history of Bengal. The ups and downs of power and the long history of the Bengal Sultanate can evoke interest in anyone. It all began when I came across a few Magadha Janapada coins. Subsequently I found a few Pala era coins. I noticed that these early coins were quite artistic but very difficult to decipher.
One of my senior fellow numismatists, Peter Kraneveld, has a practical philosophy about coins. According to him an unidentified coin is a piece of metal and an identified coin is a piece of history'. So, for a numismatist merely picking up a coin and storing it away is not what real collecting is all about. He must analyse the coin, know the coin and in many cases research the coin to attribute it accurately and then finally preserve it. With the help of my friends, fellow collectors and researchers I analysed each and every coin in my collection. While doing this I saw how an unidentified piece of metal can be transformed into a piece of history. I also discovered that attribution of an ancient coin is not an easy task and needs studied expertise. There are not enough texts that aim to help those who lack the needed expertise to read and correctly understand these ancient coins of Bengal. From this realization the need to write a simple primer on the coins of Bengal became paramount.
This book shares our experience with the readers and helps them gain expertize in understanding Bengal coins of different times from ancient to the early modern period. This book will also help Bangladeshis, Bengalis of India and the general public to know about the 'golden and silvery' history of Bengal. The volume also teaches that coins can be a way to declare one's existence and at the same time a way to document history. Coins can also be a way to express a ruler's sense of art. I hope that this volume will help the readers to fully decipher what is on the two sides (obverse and reverse) of the coins of Bengal. But our work does not intend to catalogue every coin issued from Bengal. Moreover, it is also not an attempt to prove or discard any written history of Bengal. I request the readers not to consider this volume as a mere book of history but to accept this as pure numismatic writing. However, to understand the eras of the coins and the coin issuers, a short introduction to the history of the time when these coins were issued is presented. Though the focus of the volume is on the coins of Bengal, a few coins of the neighbouring kingdoms have also been discussed in the last chapter as they are supposed to have been in use at that time in Bengal. These may not be coins of Bengal in the pure sense of the term but the geographical boundaries of Bengal, in the sense of mapping data have changed over time. As these coins were used in the land of Bengal they deserve to be included. Finally, it is important to mention that none of us, my co-author or me, are numismatic experts. But if this book helps even as a first step in creating future experts, then our efforts would have paid off. We shall appreciate very much detailed comments from readers so that we can improve the volume further in future editions.
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