Ok, folks. Looks like we've finally got the real reason for the rupee's harrowing decline. And it's not policy paralysis by the government. It's not Greece either. Or the high fiscal and current account deficit. Or slowing growth. Or persistent inflation.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the new rupee symbol (see picture) is to blame for the currency’s decline. Vaastu consultant Rajkumar Jhanjhari told the newspaper the lower horizontal line of the symbol had ‘slit the throat’ of the rupee, causing it to slide. He claimed he even wrote to the Prime Minister last year on the issue, urging a change to a more Vaastu-compliant symbol. “India managed to withstand a severe global slump in 2009, before the symbol came up. One must ask why our growth rate is taking a beating now before rubbishing pleas for changing the symbol," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The new rupee symbol, which is the creation of D Udaya Kumar, assistant professor in the design department of IIT-Guwahati, has been introduced in currency coins and notes since last year.
The HT story got more than 3,000 Facebook likes and more than 58 comments, prompting Wall Street Journal to follow up on the story. (We’re doing the same, we admit. It was too good an opportunity to pass up!)
The US newspaper took it one step further and asked renowned astrologer Bejan Daruwalla if he could pinpoint what was going wrong with India's economy and the rupee. “The position of Saturn in the chart of India is bad,” said Daruwalla, which represents “stagnation." And that is the reason for India’s slowing economy (and, by extension, its weakening currency.)
Wall Street Journal also took the opportunity to ask the creator of the rupee what he thought about criticism that his symbol is not 'Vaastu-compliant'.
“I absolutely have no idea what to say,” a non-plussed Dharmalingam said.
Frankly, we don't either.