Saturday, May 1, 2021

throwing coins into water bodies !

Not sure, how many of you still carry small change (in coins) and do you remember naya paisa ? – I remember 1 paisa, 2 paisa, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25, 1 rupee, 2 rupee & 10 rupee coins – also remember having seen Rs. 20, 50 & 100 coins – not sure whether they were only commemorative coins !!

The renminbi (lit. 'people's currency) is the official currency of the People's Republic of China.  The yuan  is the basic unit of the renminbi, but the word is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally, especially in international contexts. One yuan divides into ten jiao and a jiao in turn divides into ten fen !!

The  Government of India has the sole right to mint coins. The responsibility for coinage vests with the Government of India in terms of the Coinage Act, 1906 as amended from time to time.   The coins are issued for circulation only through the Reserve Bank in terms of the RBI Act.   Coins in India are presently being issued in denominations of 50 paise, one rupee, two rupees and five rupees. Coins of  50 paise are called 'small coins' and coins of Rupee one and above are called 'Rupee Coins'. Coins can be issued up to the denomination of Rs.1000 as per the Coinage Act, 1906. Coinage of India, issued by imperial dynasties and middle kingdoms - Cowry shells was first used in India as commodity money.  Metal currency was minted in India  during the famed  Mauryan Empire.   

                       The first rupee coins of the Republic of India were minted in 1950. These included 1/2 rupee, 1/4 rupee, 2 anna, 1 anna, 1/2 anna & 1 pice coins, and are referred to as the anna series or pre-decimal coinage.  On 30 June 2011, all coins in denominations of 25 paisa and below were officially demonetised.

In Aug 1990, I travelled by Circar Express and in the afternoon crossed Godavari river – was amazed looking at the long rail bridge – and then saw many people standing near the doors and throwing coins into the river as offering.  Sure, rivers are reverred – there are so many rivers, and so many trains cross over them – assuming that 100 people throw say Rs.200 worth coins – how many would be thrown in a day – and in a month and .. .. .. years later, worshipped at another temple that had beautiful ponds all along the way to the main sannathi – and the bottom of the ponds were not visible as there were so many coins !

For sure – India is not alone .. .. as MailOnline reports that a man in China was detained by police after he was caught throwing coins into a jey's engine for good luck - a superstition that put the lives of the 148 passengers and crew in danger.

The passenger, identified only as having the surname Wang, was scheduled to fly from Weifang to Haiku on a Beibu Gulf Airlines flight GX8814 when he tossed a handful of coins wrapped in red paper into the engine. Coins in a plane's engine can damage the blades or even cause a fire.  Luckily, runway workers noticed the coins on the tarmac under the plane before it took off and alerted the aircraft's crew.  Wang reportedly admitted throwing six coins wrapped in red paper into the plane's engine. A picture of the coins was later shared online. The staff managed to recover all the coins but the flight had to be cancelled due to safety concerns. All 148 passengers were forced to disembark and wait for another flight until the next morning. Wang was then detained by the police.


Many Chinese people believe that tossing coins into a specific target - such as a statue in a park or a bell in a temple - might bring them good luck or ward off evil spirits. This is not the first time a passenger has attempted to toss coins into an aircraft engine for good fortune and a safe flight in the country. In 2019 a passenger was ordered to pay Lucky Air more than £13,000 as compensation after throwing two coins at the plane's engine, causing the flight to be cancelled and more than 160 passengers stuck overnight. The court ruled in favour of the airline. It deemed that any normal person with common sense would think that the coins might land in the engines, which could lead to 'a serious accident'. In April that year, a 66-year-old female passenger was detained by police for throwing six coins at a plane for good luck before take-off in Inner Mongolia.

Those who disrupt the normal operation of companies and organisations are subject to a maximum of 10 days of detention and 500 yuan (£56) cash penalty, according to China's Public Security Administration Punishment Law. Unruly and untrustworthy passengers in China may also be blacklisted by the country's civil aviation authority and banned from taking planes, according to the nation's social credit system.

More interestingly, the majority of the nation's citizens have never travelled by air despite the fact that the country is set to overtake the United States to be the largest air travel market in the world in 2022.Most air passengers in China are repeated travellers from big cities. It has been estimated that more than 70 per cent of Chinese - or more than one billion people - have never flown in their life; therefore they are oblivious of the etiquette and safety regulations of travelling by air.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28.4.2021. 

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