At one point in Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah, Yusuf stole a coin from his father's jacket pocket, which ended up being a "silver Rupee." I'm aware of Indian rupees, but they're currently definitely not made out of silver. In fact, if I'm reading the Wikipedia article correctly, the Indian government didn't issue silver Rupees post-independence; the last silver Rupees were the British regal issue, minted from 1862 - 1947.

Was the book referring to the British regal issue Indian rupees minted from 1862 to 1947, or to an entirely different currency? How did his father happen to have that currency in Tanzania?

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Although it is said that Paradise is set in Tanzania (on the wikipedia page for example), as the action takes place in the years immediately before the First World War the modern state of Tanzania did not yet exist. This would be formed in 1964 from what were originally the colony of German East Africa and the British Protectorate of Zanzibar. The Zanzibari rupee was actually the currency of Zanzibar from 1908 - 1935, and German East Africa had a very similarly named coin, the rupei. Rupees were also the currency in the nearby British East African colonies. At the time, being fairly valuable, rupee coins were minted from silver, and Indian rupees remained silver until 1940.

So essentially due to the nearby presence of British colonies/protectorates and the commercial power of the East India Company, it would have been far from unusual for a rupee to be in circulation.

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