Logic Behind Adding One Rupee Coin As ‘Shagun’ – OpEd


Adding one rupee extra means that the good wishes and blessings bestowed by you are inseparable. That extra one
rupee is considered a loan. To give that one rupee means that the real debt is on the recipient who has to come again and meet the giver. One rupee is a symbol of continuity.

Everything in life has its own importance or is a matter of belief. India is a diverse country so are the people who follow different beliefs that make them stand up high among others. One such tradition that is widely seen in India is giving a one rupee coin as a Shagun. No matter how much amount you give as Shagun, it always ends on 1. It is an amount or a Shagun given at the beginning of something. How could something good start with a zero (as per psychological notion), so add a rupee simply, and as counting begins with one (1)? Hence, one is considered as the beginning of something good. What may be the real amount, whereas the pending 1 rupee is considered as debt?

As per belief, it means that person will pay back rupee one (1) whenever he/she will meet next time. The cycle goes on like this that results in forming a strong bond. The more you will meet; the better will be the understanding and relation. Basically, it is a way of saying “we will meet again”. It is regarded as an extra bonus to the blessings. Elders say that invest that one rupee in doing good deeds, charity or for a great purpose to increase in either cash or kind or karma. Giving an extra coin is seen as a silent wish for the receiver to have more in his/her life. Knowing the fact that shunya/zero is not considered very auspicious for family persons, so we add one to the given amount. Shunya is associated with Brahma jnam as is the Brahma muhurta. Any work started in this hour apart from meditation/spiritual activity is bound to be fruitless. Hence, if gifts were in kind then you could give a gift like clothes, jewellery, and add a coin.

Generally Indians consider numbers like 100, 200, 50, etc. to be stable numbers. It means that they will not decrease or increase or more precisely, they are without a trend. When you add one to it, it signifies a growing trend that your number will increase. Indians give money to someone as a gift, wish that the amount gievn should increase and bring prosperity to the receiver of the gift. That is why we add one more rupee to our gift so that it can start a growth in financials, happiness and joy in your life. Also, if one rupee is not added, to the amount will end in zero (50, 500, or 2000) and zero denotes an end.

The concept of giving one extra rupee initially started in marriage ceremonies because the first social celebrations included only marriages. Other poojas and rituals were done in social events which didn’t include gifting of money. Hence, the concept of gifting money started from marriages. Why that extra Rupee? Marriage is an event where two bodies and two souls get together. They unite and the future life will be based on togetherness.

Accordingly, whenever an amount comes in the house, it shouldn’t be able to split up. For example, if you gift Rs 50, the couple can easily split it into Rs 25 each which was not considered to be appropriate. Make the amount such that it cannot be divided – Rs 51! Cheers! Many people feel that gift amount must not end with zero. Hence, they add one rupee coin. Nowadays we see gift envelopes already containing a coin of denomination of Re. 1/. Even people contributes in Provident fund with odd figures like Rs. 4001/-, Rs. 5001/, Rs. 10,001/-, and so on.

This tendency is primarily due to cultural conditioning. In North India, it has been a cultural custom to gift a rupee extra in addition to the amount being gifted (Rs 101, 501, 1001 etc). In Tamil we call it kosur. That means giving something extra than eligible. For example if we fetch one liter milk from the vendor, he shall pour some more as kosur. Same is the case of adding one rupee to the gift cash.

But this trend is not there in South Indian states. There is no logic behind this; it is only a custom continuing throughout the years. It is only a matter of belief and considered good as per tradition we have seen. These figures are considered to be good by our elders so we too follow and even when we do not want to do, we do it to avoid hurting anyone’s feeling.

Don’t know if this question arises in your mind. One might have heard it many times by the groom’s family that we don’t want anything, just give as one rupee along with your daughter in her marriage as that is enough. You may be encountered many situations where your parents give sufficient amount of money as a token of their love when someone arrives at your home and that person says give only one rupee coin as a shogun.

The Indian 1-rupee coin (₹1) is an Indian coin worth one Indian rupee and is made up of a hundred paisas. Currently, one rupee coin is the smallest Indian coin in circulation. Since 1992, one Indian rupee coin are minted from stainless steel. Round in shape, the one rupee coin weighs 3.76 grams (58.0 grains), has a diameter of 21.93-millimetre (0.863 in) and a thickness of 1.45-millimetre (0.057 in). In independent India, a one-rupee coin was first minted in 1950 and is currently in circulation.

There are, however, a few reasons behind such a rare tradition. Here are the five most prevalent notions about it. Well, there are five age-old reasons for doing that:

‘1’ signifies the beginning

“Zero” signifies an end, while “One” signifies a new beginning. That extra one rupee coin ensures that the receiver does not come across a zero. One of the best reasons behind such practice is not to start the counting with a zero. As per psychological notion, once you add one rupee coin to a gift amount, the receiver will count it starting with 1 with the one rupee coin. So, the person need not come across zero, which is considered as a negative one, rather he will start with a good note as he will start with one. It is widely believed that ‘0’ signifies the end while ‘1’ signifies the beginning.

Blessings remain indivisible

Mathematically, the numbers 100, 500 and 1000 are divisible; but the numbers 101, 501 and 1001 are indivisible. One wants good wishes and blessings to remain indivisible. Giving a sum which is odd for example 501 (or X+1), you make the entire amount indivisible. This amount is especially given to a married couple, and considered to bring luck as just like the amount, the couple remains indivisible. Hence, if you gift such amounts it is believed that the good wishes, good luck, and blessings remain indivisible which can be regarded as an extra bonus to the blessings that we get for gifting the main amount of money.

That one rupee is debt

It is a debt which means ‘we will meet again’. That extra one rupee is believed to be debt. Giving that one rupee means that the real debt lies on the receiver who will have to come again and meet the giver. The one rupee is the symbol of continuity. It will strengthen their bond. It simply means, “We will meet again and the friendship will continue”. Once you give your dear one a Shagun, if he is a well-behaved person, he would definitely try to return at least its equivalent to you someday. In short, the practice of keeping one extra rupee means that the giver in unsaid language says, ‘We will meet again’. The added one rupee is a symbol of continuity, ahead of the basic amount. It strengthens the bond between the giver and the receiver. It simply means, “Our good relationship will continue”.

Metal is divine

Metal is part of Goddess Lakshmi. The fourth probable reason behind the practice is metal comes from the Earth while Earth is regarded as a mother in Hindu mythology and hence auspicious. You must have heard the tradition of buying gold/ silver or any article made of metal on Dhanteras so that property gets to come to your house with the blessings of Goddess Laxmi. Shagun ka 1 Rupya is for investment and wish that the money we give increases and brings prosperity to our loved ones. While the bigger amount of the Shagun is for spending, that one rupee is the seed for growth. It is to be wisely invested or given in charity to increase in either cash or kind or karma.

Metal is auspicious

It is said that one must give some metal (dhatu) as a gift. Lastly, as per some beliefs it is considered auspicious to gift some metal. You must have seen elders giving rupee coins to priests like Dakshina. Coins are made of metals. Earlier copper and silver coins were prevalent while now steel-based alloys are used to make coins. Hence, while giving a Shagun a one rupee coin is added.

Hence, the added rupee must be a coin, and never a one-rupee note. A coin is made of metal, which comes from Mother Earth and it is considered to be a part of Goddess Lakshmi. We know that on Dhana Trayodashi/Dhanteras, it is considered auspicious to buy silver/gold or metal utensils. It corresponds to Prithvi Tattva (Earth Element) of the Pancha Maha Bhutas.

While the bigger amount is an investment, the one rupee coin is the “seed” for further growth of that investment. This means that the good wishes, good luck and blessings you give remain indivisible. That extra one rupee is believed to be debt. Giving that one rupee means that the real debt lies on the receiver who will have to come again and meet the giver. The one rupee is the symbol of continuity. Your good wishes and blessings are for the investment to grow in cash, kind or karma.

Dr. Gursharan Singh Kainth

Dr. Gursharan Singh Kainth is Founder–Director of Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies

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