PAKISTAN has a new currency note to mark the diamond jubilee of independence. The 75-rupee banknote, issued by the State Bank to mark the occasion, is quite distinctive in its features. Emerald green in colour, it features the portraits of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah on the obverse, and a vignette of the national animal, the markhor, and the national tree, the deodar, on its reverse. The note will be issued in September 2022, and those who dabble in numismatics will no doubt be quite eager to get their hands on one to archive in their collections as a unique artefact commemorating a significant milestone in Pakistan’s history.
Even those who are not avid collectors will still find the philosophy behind the banknote’s design quite fascinating. The four individuals who have been featured on the note have been chosen for their contributions towards “elucidating, shaping and supporting the struggle for independence”. Allama Iqbal and Sir Syed have been credited for elucidating Muslim identity and nationalism, the Quaid for shaping the independence struggle, and Ms Jinnah for supporting the Quaid as his steadfast companion. It is also worth noting that this is the first time a woman’s face has been featured on a Pakistani banknote, which makes the 75-rupee note all the more special. Her inclusion honours “the role of women in the freedom movement and the singular price paid by them[...]”. The artwork on the reverse side represents Pakistan’s commitment to the protection of indigenous species and combating climate change and is the work of upcoming artist Sara Khan. It is heartening that a young woman was chosen to give expression to the country’s aspirations on environmental concerns. Having crossed the 75-year milestone, it is important for the country to stay rooted but be progressive in its aspirations and cognisant of the hopes of its youthful population, especially its women. This commemorative banknote fittingly captures that spirit through its thoughtful design.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2022