The rupee is the official currency of the Republic of India. India has a population of over 1.2 billion people, second only to China. India was a seat of ancient civilisations, and was already a prosperous sub-continent by the time of the 18th century, with its considerable commercial wealth based on trade within its vast lands, and with neighbouring regions. But it was this very success that led the imperialist Europeans to be attracted to the natural resources and cultural riches on offer.
By the mid-19th Century, India was effectively already a part of the British Empire, being almost entirely under the administration of the East India Company. This de-facto rule was made official in 1858, when a brief rebellion led to the abolition of the company, resulting in the imposition of direct rule by the British Government.
Colonial rule continued until shortly after the Second World War, when, as a result of a largely non-violent campaign of resistance, Indian independence was won. There was a price to be paid however, as the nation was partitioned into two separate nations: India and Pakistan (and later, Bangladesh).
Historically, the rupee was a silver coin. This presented a problem when the rest of the world’s currencies were linked to the value of gold (the Gold Standard). The problem was made even worse in the 19th Century when vast new quantities of silver were discovered, sending the value of silver relative to gold plummeting. A brief attempt was made to introduce the British pound to the region, but this was largely ignored by the local population, and the rupee endured. The rupee remained linked to the value of silver until the late 20th Century. Today, the currency is largely free-floating, although some limited restrictions and controls are imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
With such a large population, there are more than a few rupee users across the world, and with India’s history as a former colony, it would be surprising if the British love of bingo had not influenced the local residents. Although it’s doubtful the aristocratic British administrators spent much time in bingo halls, the hoi polloi in the ranks of the military may well have done. Indeed, in multi-cultural Britain today, there is perhaps something romantic about the thought of the rupee being used to pay for good old fashioned traditional British bingo.