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Hundis refer to financial instruments evolved on the Indian sub-continent used in trade and credit transactions. They were used
  • as remittance instruments (to transfer funds from one place to another),
  • as credit instruments (to borrow money [IOUs]),
  • for trade transactions (as bills of exchange).
Technically, a Hundi is an unconditional order in writing made by a person directing another to pay a certain sum of money to a person named in the order. Hundis, being a part of the informal system have no legal status and are not covered under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Though normally regarded as bills of exchange, they were more often used as equivalents of cheques issued by indigenous bankers.

A Representative Darshani Hundi.
Early 20th Century

Nisani Hamare Gharu khate nam mandna.
Dastkhat Brijkishore Bhargava ke hundi likhe mujib sikar desi.
Sidh sri Patna subhastane chiranjeeva bhai Rikhabchand Bridhichan yog sri Jaipur se likhi Brijkishore Bhargava kee asis banchna, apranch hundi aik rupia 2,000 akshare rupia do hazar ke nime rupia aik hazar ka duna yahan rakha sah Sri Punamchandji Harakchandji pas miti Mangsir bad baras (12th) puga turat sah-jog rupia chalan ka dena. Sambat 1990, Miti Mangsir bad baras,
Neme Neme rupia panchsau ka chauguna pura do hazar kardejo.
'1' Chiranjeeva Rikhabchand Bridhichand, Patna.


Place it to the debit of our account.
Signature: Honour the Hundi written by Brijkishore Bhargava.
Greetings to Messrs. Rikhabchand Bridhichand, son of the fair city of Patna on whom the Hundi for Rs 2,000 (in words Rupees Two thousand only) is written by Brij Kishore Bhargava from Jaipur. Rupees one thousand if doubled make the sum of the hundi. The hundi has been drawn from here in favour of Messrs. Punamchand Harackchand on 12th Mangsir 1990, which please honour on presentation in the current money.
Four times of Rs. 500 make the sum of Rs. 2,000 for which the hundi is drawn.

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