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The festival of Ganesh Utsav brings a lot of positivity and prosperity in our country. Lord Ganesha is portrayed as the symbol of health, knowledge and wealth in India. Moreover, people from various parts of the world worship the Lord Ganesha. But distinct than all of this, a picture of Lord Ganesha is engraved on Indonesia’s currency note. 

The 20,000 rupiah note in Indonesia has a notation of Lord Ganesha alongside an image of Ki Hajar Dewantara in front, a celebrated Indonesian independence activist and a preacher of education for native Indonesians when the country was under Dutch influence. The purpose of engraving Lord Ganesha on the currency is because Ganesha is recognized as a god of education. A picture of a classroom is also printed behind the note, which indicates the significance of education.

There are different beliefs about the currency. According to one Quora user, Dr Subramanian Swamy, when he earlier consulted the Indonesian Finance Minister about the picture of Lord Ganesha on their currency note, the Finance Minister described that in 1997, the currency of numerous Asian countries was devalued. And after the trials to prevent the devaluation fell, dignitary indicated that they have a picture of Ganesha, the god of fortune and wealth on the note. Since then, the image has stayed on the currency note and citizens have acknowledged it. Still, there are no reliable confirmations about the accuracy of this incident and the influence of Hindu mythology in Indonesia resides as the strongest reason behind it.

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Indonesia is a nation where Muslims form the majority with 87.5% of the population. With 3% Hindus, the Muslim majority country carried forward the native believers of Hindu deities and practices. As a result of this demographic, that Lord Ganesha's picture is inscribed on the note has shocked many. But the fact is that Indonesia has been under the influence of Hinduism since the first century. The Arjuna Wijaya statue is an ancient landmark at the Jakarta square while Hanuman is the authorized mascot of Indonesia's military intelligence. Indonesia has chosen a Hindu goddess as its embassy’s symbol. Bandung Institute of Technology, an acclaimed educational institution of Indonesia also has Ganesha as its logo.

When the well-known leader and former deputy PM of India, Laal Krishna Advani visited Indonesia in July 2010, he was left amazed because of the dignity granted upon Hinduism by a Muslim majority country.

On his return to India, Advani wrote a blog and said, “Indonesia, I must say, seemed to know and cherish Ramayana and Mahabharata better than we do.”

Apart from Lord Ganesha's unique inscription on the note, Indonesia also displays a diversity of structures that reflects the Hindu culture. And in recent times when religious imbalance speaks volumes about our country’s respect for religious freedom. Let's hope that Lord Ganesha will bring all the equivalence and prosperity for us.

(Source - Wikipedia/Times of India)