For a rupee, a peek into the mind of IAS officers

The Indian rupee has just obtained a sign all its own, like the American dollar, the British pound and the Euro.

Designed by IIT Bombay post-grad, D. Udaya Kumar, the part-Devanagari, part-Roman symbol is based on the tricolour and “arithmetic equivalence” (whatever that means), and can be rendered with a standard keyboard.

“While the white space between the two horizontal lines gives the impression of the national flag with the Ashok Chakra, the two bold parallel lines stand for ‘equals to’, representing balance in the economy, both within and with other economies of the world,” according to The Indian Express, which broke the story.

But we live in interesting times, where the ghosts of communalism insult Indian intelligence from every cranny.

The letter below was sent to the editor of the right-wing daily, The Pioneer, by V. Sundaram, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, on Wednesday last, July 7, before Uday’s design was announced.

Admittedly, it’s a point of view to which (and others) he is well entitled.

Still, even if Sundaram’s letter doesn’t tell us anything about the design sense that is drilled into the skulls of new recruits in Dehradun, it reveals plenty of what is left in it long after they hang up their coats. And the care and concern that must have guided them every step of the way while the red light flickered over their Ambassadors.

Facsimiles: courtesy The Indian Express and The Pioneer