Towards the nineteenth century, the pie was the
smallest minted coin in India. It constituted 1/3 rd of a pice
and was officially termed 1/12th of an Anna. 3 pies made a pice;
4 pice made an anna and 16 annas made a rupee. One rupee, thus
consisted of 192 pies. (No wonder arithmetic daunted the faint-hearted
In the wake of the second world war, India witnessed
an inflationary situation as well as a scarcity of metals that
had to be imported. It was in this context of rising prices that
the minting of the copper pie was discontinued after 1942.
Ten years later,there was a proposal by the Mint
Master that the pie be reintroduced as a part of the coinage of
Republic India. The proposal, however, was very gently squashed
by the then Finance Secretary, Shri K.G. Ambegaokar on cost-benefit
considerations. Ambegaokar, later also served as Governor of the
Bank for about one month in 1957. C.D. Deshmukh, the former Governor
of the Bank was then the Finance Minister. He as "Minister"
wrote the last word ending the saga of the humble pie.
"Much as I admire the valiant efforts made
to rescue the 'picayune coin', I must, I am afraid, albeit with
a heavy heart, write
The Epitaph of the Pie
Low and high
We all will sigh
When the poor little pie
Bids her last goodbye.
But her cost's is so high;
And what can she buy?
What trade can she ply?
She needs must eat the humble pie;
So let us not vie
To keep alive the pie
And without a plaintive cry
Peacefully let her die.
If you want the reason why
There need not be hue and cry
Remember she'll in honour lie
With the silver rupee high!
Will the "Minister" say the last word?
July 12, 1952
In the note, C D Deshmukh concurred stating
Let not the 'press' of men
Disturb a museum piece
When life's extinct, oh then
The pie shall lie in peace.
July 13, 1952