This is why Nepal changed elephant picture on 1,000-rupee notes

Newly issued 1,000-rupee note (above) and a previously used note of the same value.

Kathmandu, July 23

Nepal Rastra Bank on Wednesday issued 1,000-rupee notes in a new design that has a picture of twin elephants on the back.

The decision to change the designs of the highest-denomination banknote of the country came after the elephant on the old 1,000-rupee notes was identified to be an African elephant and questions were raised for the use of foreign elephants when Nepal had many elephants on its own.

In the fiscal year 2011/12, the Note and Coin Design Committee of Nepal Rastra Bank had finalised that the new designs with a picture of Ram and Lakshman, twins born in around 2008/09 in Chitwan. However, it took the central bank around eight years to implement the decision.

In a 2012 meeting, the design committee led by the then governor Yuba Raj Khatiwada (current finance minister) had discussed the need for printing new notes with Megh Bahadur Pandey, representative of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

Pandey, who had also worked for the Chitwan National Park, had then objected to the use of foreign animals on Nepali currencies. Historian Satya Mohan Joshi, who was also present in the meeting, also seconded Pandey’s opinions at once. His opinion was approved and the meeting decided to use animals of Nepali origins and even formed a separate committee under the then Deputy Governed Maha Prasad Adhikari (the current governor of the central bank) to manage the photos.

Pandey, who was given the responsibility to get an elephant photo, informs that he got the photographer and took a photo of the twin elephants. “We have photos of all the species in the park, but we had a separate photographer for the purpose.”

After six months, the photos were submitted to the committee, followed by the decision to change all currency featuring foreign animals. Changes were made on designs of notes worth Rs 20, Rs 50, and Rs 500 also.

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