At first glance, the symbol is just an incomplete letter R with the same double horizontal bars found in the peso symbol, but there's quite a lot of cultural meanings and memories behind it. Compared to the dollar sign, the Indian rupee is nationalistic, and has history and identity. The two bars are actually the three stripes of Indian flag with white occupying the center. Linguistically, the symbol is a combination of the Roman script R and Devanagari Ra. It seems to me the Indian rupee is a symbol of symbols.
Considering PM Manmohan Singh, the finance minister in the nineties who opened Indian economy to the world, being the head of the current government that started the symbol, the new Indian rupee symbol itself is the narrative of India's emerging role in the global stage.
Syncretizing symbols and meanings is not new in India. The fat boddhisatvas in draping togas, which are obviously of Indo-Greco art period, are proofs of that.
India has a history of designing confluences of cultures that are either local or global. M.F. Hussain's art works are contemporary representatives of such syncretized cultural confluences in the local art scene. The painting below can be Mother Teresa or a veiled Muslim woman. One can wonder if the artist found a connection between the two when he painted the image. What are Hussain's cultural memories about Mother Teresa and Muslim Women? Is it the culture of suffering that connects the two?
Currently, the known symbols of globalization are mostly Western or American. They are mostly trademarked logos of multinational corporations. Urban cities in Asia are dotted with symbols of Shell, Seven-eleven, Walmart, Mcdonald's, etc. Those symbols do not make sense in those cities culturally. Shell's logo, for example, is neither about a beach nor about a seafood. The locals have been bombarded with foreignness by these foreign corporations. In a sense, there is an importation/exportation of symbolic alienation and cultural disconnection that is going on in those Asian cities.
All of the logos brought by multinational companies to the foreign shores have only one meaning: western economic invasion or exploitation. Globalization, it seems, is one-sided in economic framework and cultural design. People in the West should not wonder why the locals still cry "Imperialism!" and burn their flags.
To redefine globalization and make it truly inclusive, there should be a paradigm shift in its meaning and symbolization. For it to be global, all cultures involved should be included in designing globalization as an economic geography and culture. I don't expect Americans or Japanese or Chinese to lead the way. All of them espouse cultural xenophobia, although their markets are open to the world. They have cultural histories of being supremacists and memories of being colonialists. Our last hope for globalization to be truly global in economy and in culture is India.