Hyderabad: Several social media posts about a currency named, Raam, are being shared virally, claiming that this currency exists in Iowa, USA and Netherlands and that it is the most expensive currency in the world.
A few users shared the pictures of the currency with a claim "Did you know there is currency named Raam being used in Iowa and Netherlands? #ram #currency #peace".
While a few claimed that "1 Raam = 10 Euro Yes there is a currency used in Holland, named on Prabhu Shree Raam. जय श्री राम"
Others claimed that this currency is used worldwide. "HAIL SHRI RAM. SHRI RAM JI NAMED CURRENCY IS USED WORLDWIDE. Hail Lord Ram."
The claim is Misleading.
Raam is NOT a currency, but is a bearer bond issued by Global Country of World Peace, set up by the Indian mystic, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Global Country of World Peace was officially founded on October 7, 2000, by Maharishi, together with scientists, educators, doctors, lawyers and peace-loving citizens from over 100 countries who are desirous of creating a global home for peace-loving people everywhere.
Raam was issued by Maharshi Global Financing, Netherlands, as the Global Development Currency of the Global Country of World peace on October 26, 2001. Raam was made available to all cities and countries of the world.
Raam is a 'Bearer Bond' convertible in Holland at the Fortis Bank in Roermond and in the Maharshi Vedic City in Iowa. But there is no information of it being convertible in any other location.
According to Maharshi Vedic City website, it began to distribute Raam Mudra locally from February 24, 2002, the currency of the Global Country of World Peace. The City Council adopted Raam Mudra as the ideal local currency to support economic development in the city and development of local businesses and organizations wishing to accept that currency.
An article published in BBC News on February 5, 2003, states that Raam is also circulating as the currency of Maharishi Vedic City in the US state of Iowa together with the US dollar, while Raam-based bonds are being offered in 35 American states.
Benjamin Feldman, 'Minister of Finance' of the Maharishi movement, told BBC News Online, the Raam could be used to battle poverty and create world peace. He said governments could use the Raam to start up agricultural and other development projects around the world.
It also states that the Raam notes are accepted in Dutch shops at a fixed rate of 10 Euros per Raam, in the Netherlands. "There are now about 1,00,000 Raam notes in circulation. That is not a lot but we are keeping a close eye on it because it must never lead to confusion among the public," the Dutch Central Bank spokesman said.
We also found an interview with Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, where he is seen talking about Raam, on YouTube.
Though it is true that these bearer bonds were in rampant use in the Netherlands and also in Maharshi Vedic City in Iowa, USA, it is not known whether they are still valid in those countries. Raam was exchanged in banks for dollars and pounds. But the highest exchange value was either $10 or 10 pounds, so they are NOT the most expensive bearer bonds.
Therefore, even though Raam was costlier than dollars and pounds, it is NOT a regular currency and the claim is misleading.