Friday, 7 November 2014

A TRYST WITH PHILATELY

Featuring SAGAR DIGHE and his exotic collection of stamps

It was an usual lecture day in college. We were flooded with streams of data from the Professor teaching Antennas. It was like a daily Information Overload scenario. Quite unassumingly, a normal looking notebook reached me after doing its round in the classroom. I opened it to see the name.

"SAGAR DIGHE"

Believing it to be a misplaced notebook of my dear friend SAGAR, I closed the book to parcel the item back to him; who was sitting engrossed in the lecture some metres away.

Impulsively, I thought to open the book to see what it was hiding under its cover. Behold! A large collection of stamps from most of the countries on this planet.

Stamps are something that many of us always feel associated with. It can withstand the test of time. It not only is a custom made legal evidence of payment of postage, but a vast resting place of the country's Geography, Politics, History, Culture and its Scientific Innovations that etches its place on that tiny piece of paper. A look through the stamps of the bygone era can significantly help you point out the mood of the nation during that time. Study of the vastness of this subject and associating the knowledge that this small piece of paper holds is what learned ones call PHILATELY. 

I discovered a new budding Philatelist that day, my friend Sagar. It was a pleasant surprise to know that he collected stamps all the way from his childhood. I vowed to bring some elegant stamps from his collection into the online digital world.

For his painstaking collection, classification, sorting and documentation of stamps from the entire world, I dedicate this article to him. May his collection breed like an epidemic.

Showcasing selected stamps from Sagar's collection along with some snippets on certain interesting stamps:

INDIA

           

Engaging stamps in this collection include the 100 Year Census Centenary Celebration stamp. 1871 was the year in which the first comprehensive census of India was initiated under the British Empire. In 1971, a hundred years later, we had a new postal stamp glorifying that milestone.

The stamp to its right honors Michelangelo, depicting a part of his masterpiece, The Creation; a picture that surpasses the boundaries of time in showcasing its greatness.

In the last row we have India's greatest philosopher Shri Ramana Maharshi. It was noted that the founding fathers of Psychology, Carl Gustav Jung, on his maiden visit to India, feared meeting Ramana Maharshi in Kerala, as he felt he would be intimidated by the vastness of Maharshi's knowledge.

                

One of the stamps here include Indian Navy's major warship during the 1970's, INS Nilgiri. Interestingly, the authorization date on the stamp is marked manually as 1969. Yes we have an authentic copy of a stamp that is more than 45 years old.

Other standout stamps include India's greatest painter Raja Ravi Verma and the beautiful Kishangarh style painting of Radha.

But the most historic amongst these is the depiction of 6th Century BC Persian King Cyrus the Great, who wrote the first HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER. The roll in which the original charter was written is still preserved centuries later at the British Museum. The stamp interestingly marked the 2500th anniversary of this Charter.



               

Cricket is what catches the eye instantly here. 1971 was the year India won its first series in England. Probably its biggest landmark ever, considering it was its first. The stamp proudly shows its birth year as 1971.

What also enthuses me here is India's first satellite Aryabhatta in an orbiting posture in space. 1975 is the date on the stamp. The satellite was launched on April 19 1975, making ISRO and India own a satellite in orbit for the first time ever. We have now come a long way from there to now own our first orbiting satellite around MARS!

Notice how the stamps beautifully correlate the historic achievements of  the nation during that point in time. It etches an achievement forever and can pass the message onward to generations to come.


       

It is 1969 and only one thing strikes hard; the first man on moon. Here we have it; "ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND", christened as a stamp during that time.

Right on top we have a celebratory stamp of 25 years of Indian Air Force, released in 1958!

Today Indian Air Force ranks amongst the top elite air strikers in the world.


ENGLAND
                  
A complete domination by Queen Elizabeth. Most of the stamps are from 1975.


UAE, BAHRAIN, SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR and PAKISTAN
Notable stamp here is of the CONCORDE Aeroplane. Scheduled passenger planes of the world's first supersonic aeroplane were started between London and Bahrain. Hence Bahrain thought of adding this milestone onto their stamps.


Oil refineries started taking mainstream role in the Gulf. This is the point marking the wealthy transition of the Gulf into what it is today.


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and CANADA

USA is a nation that keeps great pride in the valor of its past Presidents. Be it stamps or aircraft carriers, they name them rightfully after their Presidents. Here we have Mount Rushmore, a phenomenal mountain sculptor of four US Presidents at the top row. 

Other stamps include Presidents Jefferson, Eisenhower, Washington and Lincoln. The White House also takes prominence in their stamps.

But my favourite here, is the very first stamp from 1957. It was the year when the two superpowers, Russia and USA, ended the space race by a beautiful experiment. Both of their respective space vehicles Apollo and Soyuz were blasted off simultaneously with people on board. When in space they docked with each other and we had the first, most important hand shake in space. Such a sweet moment! The stamp glorifies that moment of docking.




SINGAPORE

A very eye catching stamp here is that of the Bharathnatyam dancer in a Singaporean stamp! It very precisely points out the Indian diaspora and its cultural connection to Singapore.


In fact the name Singapore itself is derived from Sanskrit roots "Simha Puram", which means the town of the Lion. 

HONG KONG

Quite astoundingly, we have the Elizabeth series of stamps, similar to the England ones, here in Hong Kong as well. It was released during the British rule of the Hong Kong. 
Now, Hong Kong is served as a Special Administrative region of China. 

We also have a stamp dedicated to the royal visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip circa 1975.



DENMARK

 Stamp features King Frederik IX from 1967. We also have the State Seal of Denmark: the three lions and hearts.


SOUTH AFRICA, MALI, KENYA and TANZANIA
One of the central stamps here showcase all the flags from the African continent. It symbolizes their internal unity that made way to a special trade fair in 1972.


 JAPAN
Japan uses their state name as NIPPON in all their stamps. They even follow this in all internal references to their name. NIPPON is also frequently preferred for official purposes, including moneyand international sporting events.



PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA


  AUSTRALIA
Queen Elizabeth II series again repeats here in Australia. The British left quite a formidable footprint in all the areas they governed using their stamps!  


FRANCE


PORTUGAL


GERMANY and THE NETHERLANDS



ISRAEL


GREECE

UGANDA AND KENYA 


 GREAT BRITAIN and FRANCE


 SRI LANKA


EGYPT 


CZECHOSLOVAKIA


ZAMBIA


AUSTRIA


SPAIN


 NEPAL


 ARGENTINA


TURKEY 


SWITZERLAND
 Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, which is used as the official name of Swiss Federation.


ELIZABETH REGINA COLLECTION


BELGIUM


SWEDEN, RWANDA, BURUNDI, CYPRUS, ROMANIA 



Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

ITALY


KOREA


MAURITIUS


SOME MORE EXOTIC AND RARE INDIAN COLLECTION: 










Wishing the dilettante of Philately and my dear friend SAGAR DIGHE all the best in life. May his collection culminate into an even bigger treasure. Hope the explorer in him never dies.

Thank you for reading!