Nov 9, 2014

Shroffs or Money Changers - Delhi c1863

Shroffs are not always Bunneas (small traders), although the person illustrated may have been one. They are not unfrequently Brahmins, who have adopted a secular calling, and deal in money - Khutris, and other castes, Vaisya and Sudra. Their trade is the exchange of money, the giving change for rupees in pyce or copper coin, and for pyce in cowries. In the higher branches of his calling, the Shroff discounts hoodees, or bills of exchange, bonds, and promissory notes. He deals also in bullion, in small or large quantities, buys and sells ornaments, old and new pearls, and precious stones of all kinds. Finally, he lends money, generally on pledges of gold and silver ornaments, in small proportion to their value, but at moderate interest.

Photographer: Shepherd and Robertson
Source:  British Library