India’s currency has been strangely bereft of an official
symbol to use when denoting it in text. Googling for “rupee symbol” returns a barrage of different results, revealing the typographic disarray that existed–until now.
The new symbol is the creation of Indian Institute of Technology assistant professor, D. Udaya Kumar. “I don’t have words to express my happiness,” he told a reporter, adding that he was quietly confident about his design being picked ahead of the competition. “Most of them were almost similar in concept and execution. I thought I had an edge, as Indian script was represented.”
Mr Kumar, who starts his new job at the IIT-Guwahati tomorrow, gets 2.5 Lakh rupees (250,000), or $5,357 in prize money. He also wanted the symbol, which he refined after drawing up a shortlist of eight, to represent the Indian flag. “The Devnagari is the only script which has a line on the top. I also
put another horizontal line, so that we got a tricolor.”
Unsurprisingly, the rupee symbol is one of the most popular topics on Twitter right now. While some people are lambasting the symbol for its “colonial” overtones, the general consensus seems to be “cool”, “quite like”–as well as some satirical comedy.