Stamp of khadi for philatelists at exhibition

February 12th, 2011 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) A postage stamp printed on khadi — Gandhi’s preferred fabric and symbol of swadeshi during the freedom movement — and personal “my stamps” are highlights of the world philatelic exhibition that started here Saturday.”For the first time, a special khadi stamp is being released on Mahatama Gandhi and I am honoured to do so,” President Pratibha Patil said at Pragati Maidan exposition grounds here, inaugurating the week-long Indipex 2011.

Some 595 collectors from 71 countries are taking part in the exhibition, apart from 28 philatelic dealers from across the world and 31 postal administrations, said event host India Post. India earlier hosted five such exhibitions between 1954 and 1997.

The khadi stamp is actually printed on the home-spun cotton fabric that has the image of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi, revered the world over as an apostle of peace and self reliance.

The stamp is a limited edition offering in a special collector’s pack. It costs Rs.250 and can be booked online at the Indipex web site. A maximum of 10 stamps can be ordered by an individual.

The first consignment here sold out within minutes.

“Many countries have experimented with alternate materials like silk for the printing of postage stamps. India Post however has only printed stamps on paper including three sets of scented stamps,” India Post said.

“But for the first time, a special stamp printed on khadi has been released.”

Another highlight is “my stamp” in which one can even get his or her own image printed on a postal stamp — to celebrate special occasions such as engagements, birth of a baby or to send as greetings, India Post said in a statement.

Also available are a choice of stamp sheets with sun signs, aircraft, train engines, wildlife, the Taj Mahal and images from Indian folktales, the Panchtantra. These are available for Rs.150 each.

“Postage stamps are not merely utilitarian in nature but are also sought as objects of art,” said Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot. “They tell stories of great personalities as also the cltural, social, political heritage of a nation.”

The exhibition will also give an opportunity to celebrate 100 years of airmail in India.

On Feb 18, 1911, French pilot Henri Pequet flew a small Sommer biplane from Allahabad to Naini with 6,500 letters. That 13-minute journey marked the launch of airmail here.

Among the letters of many eminent people, there was one to Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, from his father Motilal Nehru. India Post will re-enact the epic journey and release a set of stamps to mark the occasion.

Another likely crowd puller will be a set of stamps on six legendary actresses of Indian cinema — Meena Kumari, Nutan, Kanan Devi, Devika Rani, Leela Naidu and Savitri Devi — to be released Sunday.

India Post had earlier honoured actors like Madhubala, Nargis, Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor, singers like K.L. Saigal, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Hemant Kumar and Begum Akhtar, and directors like Dada Saheb Phalke, Satyajit Ray and Bimal Roy.

With the youth in mind and to create awareness and interest on philately among them in this era of e-mails and SMS messages, India Post organised a letter-writing, stamp designing and quiz contest across India in December.

The winning letters and stamp designs are on display at the exhibition.

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