2009 - Sri Lanka - 1000 Rupee note
The Ushering of Peace and Prosperity

CBSL issued this Rs1000 currency note on 2009 November 17th to commemorate the Victory over the LTTE insurgency. It is dated 2009-05-20, which is two days after the war ended.


Predominant Color : Blue  |  Size : 157 x 78.5 mm
Serial Prefix : Q  |  Replacement Prefix: X/1
Florescent Fiber :  |  Braille :
Printer : Thomas De la Rue, Sri Lanka

OBVERSE THEME: One country and one nation in harmony progressing towards prosperity under the leadership of His Excellency the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
DESIGN: Image of His Excellency the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa is to the right of the note. A map of Sri Lanka with the rising sun in the background and a "Punkalasa" with ears of paddy at centre left depicts territorial integrity and prosperity respectively, that are result of national harmony and peace.

REVERSE THEME: The valiant contribution made by the nation's victorious sons and daughters of the security forces and the police.
DESIGN: Hoisting of the national flag by members of the security forces appears in the centre. Images of the Mavil Aru annicut and Thoppigala rock (Baron's Cap) which were turning points in the battle against terrorism and operations of the security forces appear in the background.

Central Bank of Sri Lanka
No 20, Janadhipathi Mawatha,
Colombo 1
Sri Lanka

The text above appears in the cardboard commemorative folder 197x108mm in dimensions. It has 4 folds with the currency note (157x78.5mm) encased within a 158x78mm transparent Mylar window which has been the cut out of middle folds. The text is printed in white on a black background. The Logo of PrintCare appears on the lower-right of back of folder
The low serial number uncirculated note was obtained with folder from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on 18th November the first day they were sold.

Point of View

Politics Again in Lankan Currency

The front of the new currency note has a Black&White picture of the victorious president, His excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa with both his hands raised. This new issue even includes the signature UPFA red curve (wave) getting thicker towards the left on blue at bottom of the front of note, as well as the front and back of the special folder.

It is the first time since 1954, that an image of a living person has been used on Lankan currency notes. Previously only portraits of British King George VI (1941-1951) and Queen Elizabeth II (1952-1954). Late Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike appeared on some currency issues from 1961 to 1975. The new currency note resembles the 1970 issue in which a portrait of the Late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike with his hand raised was issued. That issue was withdrawn from circulation when it was deemed inappropriate by authorities to have a symbol "the hand" of the ruling SLFP political party prominently on currency issue.

The back of the new note has a montage of images from Mavil Aru annicut to Thoppigala rock which were important land marks in Eeelam War IV.

The center piece is an images of five soldiers raising the national flag. The pose has clearly been plagiarized from the iconic World War II picture of five American Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in 1945. The faces are not south-asian (they don't have slant eyes for example), and the helmets, dress and boots unlike those currently used by SLA. In any case it must be just a drawing since the basic perspective is also wrong, such as the legs in front are significantly smaller than the legs behind. The CBSL Press release nor the folder stated the name of the designer, as is customary. I am unofficially told it was Central Bank artist Mr Kelum Gunasekera.

Except for the 1998 commemorative, Polymer Note which was printed at Note Printing, Australia, all Lankan Currency Notes since 1991 have been printed by Thomas De La Rue and Company Limited, who have a press in Biyagama, Lanka. On very reliable source, 20 Million of new notes were also printed by DE LA RUE. They did not use some regular security features such as raised Intaglio printing, wide security strip, but charged more because of the Rush Order. It is one of very few Lankan currency notes to not have the Printers Name on it. I suspect they were too embarrassed to state their name on this low quality Currency Note. The 1979 Bird series, the 1981 High values, and the 1998 polymer note also omitted printers name. I am told it is not a legal requirement.

By late 2009 December, I got a Q/10 note from circulation indicating that more than half the printed notes have been released to circulation. A bank told me that CBSL only issuing these Rs1000/- notes.

The Rs1000 note was first issued in 1981 in Green, the color of the UNP which was ruling at the time. The image was changed to the Late Maligawa Tusker Raja in 1991 when the UNP which uses symbol of an Elephant was still ruling. It has now been changed to Blue, which is the color of the ruling SLFP. This is not however the first time color was changed by Politics. According to Mr T. M. U. Sallay, back in 1964 June the Blue Rs50/- note was printed in Red (color of LSSP) on the request of the then Finance Minister N. M. Perera. However because of the change in government in 1965 March, these currency notes were never issued and were subsequently destroyed after the demonetizing exercise of 1970.

Currency issued in Lanka since 1977 avoided using Portraits of personalities and the issues contained images of Flora, Fauna, Historical, Archaeological Development and Heritage of Lanka. It is my understanding that the original design for this new commemorative note also adopted this policy. The design appears to have been modified in the new political climate.

A limited number of notes (10,000) with the first serial numbers are being issued in an attractive folder printed in only in English, at a price of Rs. 1,500 (US$13) each. The rest have been issued into circulation at face value and available from CBSL or any Bank.

This is the second occasion when a commemorative currency note has been issued. The first was for the 50th Anniversary of independence in 1998, when a blue Rs200 polymer note was issued. The Polymer note was not accepted well by the public used to handling paper currency. The note although still legal tender is being removed from circulation, and now rarely seen. Currently only about 3% of the just over 20.5 million notes issued are in circulation or with collectors.

Initial acceptance of the new note by public is mixed. I was told that it was refused when returned to a customer as change in a store. He had said he did not want a political note, probably thinking it was one of the many fantasy notes that have appeared in recent past. In a press release last month, CBSL has advertised Monetary policy which included the statement that the "Reproduction or imitation of any currency note using a photograph of a person, slogans designs or artwork for any propaganda purposes (eg. political, marketing, commercial, social, economic etc), may also be considered an offense." It appears that CBSL does not follow spirit of their own policy.

In violation of this law, I have heard that the opposition is writing their own slogans on this note, before spending it. Keep a look out for one when they pass through your hands. I have a used 1982 Rs10 note with Sinhala slogan Uthura Amirta, Dakuna Reaganta, Apita Kanththa.

The Rivira (Sinhala weekend Newspaper) of 2010 January 3rd, has a front page headline story and an extended half page article on the inside backpage about the manufacture of fake Rs 1000/- mahinda notes. Almost a how to guide. Few young computer geeks have got caught. Claim that they produced about 200 of these fake notes have gone into circulation.

This note has also been subject to much parody.

A few days after it was issued on 2009 November 21st, a LTTE Fantasy Padody Note was published online by www.eelamhomeland.com

A few years later in 2012 February-March when the Sri Lankan Rupee devalued by 15% in 6 weeks, Cartoonist Dharshana Karunathilake published this Cartoon in the Sunday Lakbima. When I first saw it in 2016 June, among a collection of his cartoons I thought it reflected the dramatic defeat of Rajapaksa Presidecy on 2015 January 8th, after calling elections 2 years early on the advice of an Astrologer.

See also